We’re John, Renee, and Caroline – the Ratcliffe family – and we call Charlotte our home. Renee is a native Charlottean who loves her fast-growing hometown more every year.
Since Caroline’s first birthday in 2003, cake decorating has been a fun, creative hobby for Renee. In 2008, we received the People’s Choice Award in the intermediate category in the North Carolina International Cake Exploration Society’s Cake Show. In 2013, our family discovered that cakes and cake pops were also a means to fundraising for our mission trips. Since then, our family has had 11 opportunities to serve in Albania, the Dominican Republic, and Flat Rock, NC with Carmel Baptist Church, Joni and Friends Ministries, and Carmel Christian School.
We began to see baking as an offering to God, and He multiplied the outcome, much like loaves and fishes (except sweeter). While Renee does much of the baking, John and Caroline are definitely involved in the kitchen, in project design, in deliveries, and in taste testing 🙂
As Christ-followers, we are called to honor God’s image in every person and to serve and love those who often find themselves marginalized in our society. With a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in counseling, Renee wants to use baking as a context to teach job and life skills. In Charlotte, there is a significant gap in the employment rates between working-age people with and without disabilities, and our mission is to bridge this gap.
With these desires in our hearts, the name Cakeable Charlotte came to life. Our congregation at Carmel Baptist Church uses the acronym, A.B.L.E., to help us remember that we make disciples by Abiding in Christ, Building Relationships, and Living the Gospel with Everything. We believe that something as ordinary as baking cake and cookies can be an expression of an A.B.L.E life. And so, our everyday goal is to be CakeABLE.
The word “capable” is significant to us, as we want to recognize and celebrate every way every person is capable. And so, “Cakeable,” in our name, is meant to sound similar to “capable.”
Presently we are talking with small business advisers and exploring options for kitchen space. We are inspired by other businesses who have maximized the potential and opportunity of their trainees and employees who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. We’re taking bakery business classes and attending nonprofit seminars. Most of all, we’re praying and asking God to lead the way. We would very much appreciate your prayers and connections with people who could serve as mentors and supporters of this dream.
We hope to continue to update this story under God’s direction!
John, Renee, and Caroline