Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Struggling Mom Asks for Cake Mix for Son's Birthday, Community Rallies To Throw Boy 'Toy Story' Party


Most parents long to give their children the world, and anytime there’s a crunch they’ll make sacrifices to make sure their child gets priority. When that comes to time constraints, it’s a decision mostly up to the parents.

When there are financial constraints, the decisions get a little more difficult. Many families struggle to acquire necessities, let alone non-essentials, and sometimes when it comes down to it, they could use a little extra help.

Mayra Vasquez-Ruiz of Imperial Beach, California, wanted to celebrate her son Abel’s 4th birthday, but she didn’t have what she needed. Her son, who has Down syndrome, loves “Toy Story,” so she wanted to give him something with that theme.

“As a mom of four, it’s hard,” she told KFMB-TV. “I want to give my kids everything I can.”

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Turning to a local Facebook group for help, she was shocked when offers started pouring in — and went way above her initial ask of cake mix and Toy-Story-themed party decorations.

“As soon as someone posted, ‘Oh yeah, I have cake mix,’ I was excited, I was like ‘Yes, I have him a cake,'” she said.

Soon, multiple people offered baked goods, help decorating and even to bring gifts for the 4-year-old. Someone even said they’d bring a pony to the event for pony rides.

“Late at night when it just hit me I’m like, ‘Oh my god, he’s not getting just a small cake he is getting a birthday party,'” Vasquez-Ruiz said.

Vasquez-Ruiz’s mom, who hosted the party, was just as stunned. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I kept asking her, are you sure, are you sure?”

The offers meant so much to Vasquez-Ruiz, especially because the year before, the birthday she’d planned for Abel wasn’t as special as she’d hoped. There were only a few guests that showed up, but this year was very, very different.

After over 200 responses flooded in, the grateful mom had to refuse offers and limit the guest list because of how many people were willing to get involved and participate.

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“Me and my family are so grateful for what you did for our son Abel. We can’t thank you enough,” she said. “Imperial Beach made that happen. That big smile on my son’s face.”

“I met a grateful family in a selfless community!” KFMB-TV reporter Abbie Alford posted on Monday. “Mom went to an Imperial Beach Facebook page asking for cake mix and decorations for her son, Abel’s 4th birthday, and the community response is a great act of kindness!”


Photos show the 4-year-old clearly enjoying himself, the generosity of the community only matched by the joy in the young boy’s smile.

“It was really exciting to see Abel smile,” his uncle, Jose Ruiz, told KMFB-TV. “He’s just a really special kid.”

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