MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Two local moms, Laura Himmelein and Janine Territo, have formed a new philanthropic venture called "Take the Cake" that will throw parties for children in need who might not otherwise have a party to mark a special occasion.

“We had this vision about birthday parties, that they were special for kids and for families, and realized that there are kids in our community and neighboring communities who’s parents are just not in a position to host a birthday party, something that many take for granted,” said Territo.

“Having a birthday party is also for the child’s parents,” added Himmelein.  “Parties are not at the top of the financial priority list.  But they are a time when families come together and mark an important milestone in their lives.”

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The duo’s goal is to provide fun, customized parties to families in Maplewood and South Orange who couldn’t otherwise afford to celebrate their children’s birthdays.  There will be a nomination process, so teachers and caregivers can suggest deserving children for the parties.  Nominations will be reviewed and for now, the pair will be creating one party every month for a deserving child.

Take the Cake is a new part of Rent Party Pantries (501c3), the local organization that works to fight hunger in our communities.

“We are very excited about this new partnership,” said Rent Party founder Chris Dickson.

“When we came up with the idea, we went to Rent Party for some feedback,” Territo said.  “We have always admired them and their mission.  We wanted to ask about some logistical things and they shocked us by asking us to become part of their organization.  But we do fit right in with their mission of helping people in need in our community.”

Founder Laura Himmelein is an eleven-year Maplewood resident and the owner of Party Cake Party Cake, a local event design business.  Take the Cake is a natural offshoot of that and a way to give back, she said.  

​Janine Territo has also lived in Maplewood for more than ten years.  She said life with her husband and their blended family of 6 children has made her a bit of a party expert as well. As a professional educator for 20 years and has “seen the importance of bringing fun and joy into children’s lives,” she said.

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