NICHOLASVILLE (WDKY)– Kids making cupcakes… what could be cuter?
Several times a month, Bailey Sissom conducts cooking classes for children in a special kitchen behind her Jessamine County home.
The former elementary school teacher says she got really focused on cooking about eight or nine years ago when she became a stay-at-home mom.
Many of the young people behind the mixers in her classes come back week after week for more lessons on how to make the kind of treats they really enjoy.
“They’re really fun because we can learn new techniques for cooking,” said 12-year-old Hadley McMillen. “And she always gives us a recipe to take home so we can practice and work on those skills at home.”
But there’s a sweeter purpose here than just making sweet desserts. These classes help fund a non-profit called “Simply Serving.”
Sissom’s commercial kitchen didn’t exist two years ago. It was built soon after she survived a scare. She left an oncology appointment with the belief she had lymphoma and would be starting chemotherapy. For five days, she stressed about how she would care for her husband and three young boys. Then she found out it was a misdiagnosis.
“I still don’t know what happened or why that was but it gave me the opportunity to have a really unique perspective of what it’s like to at least start down that journey,” she said. “I love to cook so I jumped on Facebook and just decided I’m so grateful I’m going to pay this forward.”
She asked friends if they knew of a family that was going through cancer and could benefit from a freezer full of healthy meals. “I immediately got 18 responses.”
Now, she and a team of volunteers meet a couple of times a month to prepare meals for families dealing with cancer. The families are nominated, friends make online donations, and then a freezer is filled with a month’s worth of easy-to-prepare meals.
Sissom says it’s better than a meal train, because the food comes all at once. There’s not as much waste because families can use it over time, when they need it the most. But she knows most families don’t have the storage space for 25 to 30 meals. They why “Simply Serving” always provides a freezer and picks it up when the food is gone.
When 10-year-old Macie Monroe was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, “Simply Serving” posted her story online and got a meal package fully funded in less than two hours. Sissom says that was a record.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Macie’s mom, Kellie. “When we found out Macie had cancer, we opened our door the day before chemo and we had a community of people on our front yard praying, The support has been amazing.”
“Insurance does pay for everything we’re going through medically, but when you’re having to rip and run down the roads and having to worry about eating out and things, the costs add up,” said father Jason Monroe. “Simply Serving was just a blessing.”
So the Lawrenceburg family was able to quickly put meals on the table during the several weeks Macie was going though chemotherapy. They were fueled by the meal and Macie was fueled by documenting her journey online.
“I wanted to share my story for kids who also get cancer so they can search my YouTube Channel and know how it feels,” Macie said. her YouTube Channel is Slime Puppy Gaming. She ends most videos with these words of encouragement; “”Remember, you guys are stronger than you think.”
“Simply Serving” has a simple purpose. To take one worry off the plates of families going through a tough time. It’s a recipe with several steps, starting with kids and cupcakes, and ending with blessings in a bag.
“I get so much from doing this as well,” Sissom said. “It’s awesome to see the families so appreciative.”