‘My love language is giving to people’: How an Edmonton baker is giving a sweet surprise to seniors

Tanya Nafe owns Sweet Bouquets Cupcakes in Edmonton. On Monday, Nafe said she lost around $2,000 in cancelled orders and workshops due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing her bakery to close. Faced with so many questions and not a lot of answers, she decided to sprinkle a little sweetness into the lives of others.

“We just decided to give free cupcake bouquets to anyone elderly, 70 and over, who are in isolation,” Nafe said.

“To tell them we’re thinking of you, we’re here, we might not be able to pop by and say hello. This is just a token of us just saying that we know you’re there and we’re thinking of you.”

The idea originated on Monday from her friend in England. Nafe decided to give it a try in Edmonton after hearing how well it was received there and put out a call for nominations on the Sweet Bouquets Cupcakes Facebook page on Tuesday.

She said she never expected it to take off the way it did. But she said with her small business being forced to close it’s keeping her busy and happy.

“People in Edmonton have nominated so many people that it’s going to keep me busy for the next two weeks. Or until supplies run out and I can’t find eggs anymore,” said Nafe.

Nominees will receive a one-of-a-kind bouquet of seven floral cupcakes. Nafe has received so many nominations over the past two days that she is now sending out two bouquets a day, instead of the original one per week.

With her business closed, Nafe is funding this out of pocket. All she asks for in return is a photo of the bouquet with its recipient.

“The messages I’ve received have been heartwarming,” she said. “It will definitely keep me going for sure, while we’re all trying to figure out kind of what’s to come.”

Others are also stepping in to help. People are giving her tips on which grocery store shelves are stocked, and offering to drop off sugar and eggs:  supplies Nafe said are getting more difficult to find.

“We’re all six feet away from each other right now, but kindness can go through barriers and it goes further than just having to see someone face to face,” she said.

Nafe does plan to reopen Sweet Bouquets Cupcakes when it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, nominations can be sent to the Sweet Bouquets Cupcakes Facebook page.

“We’re all going to get through this. One way or another, one cupcake at a time. We’ll get through this.”

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