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Men’s Bake: Fun Until Your Sides Hurt

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On Friday, August 26, 2022, the 7th annual Men’s Bake was held as a fundraiser to support affordable housing in Hernando through Mid-Florida Community Services. There were many celebrity bakers as well as mystery bakers.

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The event is an auction and fundraiser and over $25,000 was raised. The event was emceed by Billy Healis. He has a very sharp wit, and no one was safe from his humor. Most of his banter was aimed at dignitaries, but it was best to make no sudden movement that could be interpreted as bidding on an item because it could lead to being added to the comedy routine.

The celebrity bakers were Sheriff Al Nienhuis, Jared Tanner, Jerry Zampella, Commissioner Steve Champion, Clerk of Court Doug Chorvat, Andy Lyons, Mike Lastra & Dell Barnes, and Richard Sanvenero. The celebrity bakers are more of the presenters of the cake. The cakes are usually professionally made and the bakers present the cakes in fun and creative ways.

The four mystery bakers provided samples at each table. The table then voted for the cake that they liked the best. Each table was given only a single vote and had to come to a consensus on the mystery baker to vote for.

Jeff Holcomb was up first. He was a mystery baker and his cake wound up in fourth place. Billy had fun with this and Jeff was a great sport. His cake went for $275 to Kiwanis Adventure Coast.

Mystery Baker Jeff Holcomb's Navy Cake.
Mystery Baker Jeff Holcomb’s Navy Cake.
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Sheriff Al Nienhuis was the first of the celebrity bakers and presented a crime scene cake. He shared his presentation with several of the forensic staff. The cake was red velvet and went for $1800.

Publix then presented their cake, because they are famous for cake. Their cake went for $500.

Commissioner Steve Champion is the vice chair of Mid Florida Community Services and his cakes usually go for large amounts because of the add-ons. His cake had a mishap in his car, so it was a Sam’s Club cake with flags. With the add-ons of several guns from Steve’s store, American Gun and Pawn, the cake wound up raising $6,600.

Jared Tanner’s cake was dedicated to the FSU/UF rivalry. He carried a large spear and wore an FSU jacket and a headdress. The cake was a gator with an FSU spear in its head. Jared was offered $1000 to say ‘Go Gators’ and reluctantly acquiesced. His cake with add-ons of a couple of vacation rentals for a few days wound up bringing in $4,500.

Dell Barnes and Mike Lastra presented their “saxy” cake with the musical talent of Dell Barnes on saxophone. Apparently, Dell will be busy playing the sax for the winning bidder whenever they sit down and eat the cake.

Doug Chorvat came out dressed as Mr. Clean. His cake was shaped like a bottle of Mr. Clean. He played the part to a tee including Mr. Clean’s trademarked wink. His cake with add-ons raised $3000.

Andy Lyons dressed as Michael Jackson wearing a red jacket and bedazzled glove. His dance moves were perfect and he threw in the jacket he was wearing as an add-on along with a stay at a Condo on a panhandle beach. Summer Philhower, who had missed out on a couple of earlier purchases, finally won the bidding.

Richard Sanvenero’s Fred Flintstone cake fetched $4200.

Door of Hope Event Sponsor Dennis Reich, Accent Insurance, commented, “This year’s Men’s Bake was FANTASTIC! The creativity of the participants was off the charts! And the audience really saw the value of this charity. Raising money to give a hand up is always a generous and beneficial thing to do for our community.”

Larry Van Fossen, owner of Vans Cars and Trucks in Brooksville did his fair share of bidding. He stated, “My heart has always been for the import of home ownership for building family stability and community. Habitat For Humanity was one of my prior major ‘community builder’ organizations. Seeing the model of MFCS added more depth to that equation.”

“I want to see the brighter picture, at times it’s difficult. Staying strong, staying calm, and staying supportive of the greater good is where we all need to do our best efforts. As a local biz, we can play a part to assist in moving that needle, no matter how small. The greater good of ‘helping ourselves,’ our community where needed, speaks loudly. Helping those around us to better their lives is an obligation not to be overlooked. Sharing and caring becomes not really a choice, but a responsibility, an obligation,” Van Fossen said.

The event was not just fun and games. A few months ago Hernando Habitat for Humanity dissolved and was acquired by Mid Florida Community Services as the Affordable Housing Division. At this event, their new name was announced and they are now called ‘House to Home.’ They strive to provide a hand up not a handout.

Joining with Mid Florida Community Services gives House to Home much more flexibility. They can build homes, but also renovate homes and apartments. Program participants are required to put in 400 hours of sweat equity. Participants are called Program Partners and are selected based on need for better housing. They consider if the person is currently in a poor housing situation such as overcrowded housing or unsafe, unsanitary housing; substandard housing with a leaky roof, poor heating, or lack of proper plumbing.
They also consider the following:
-Paying a very high percentage of your income for rent (more than 30%)
-Ability to repay an affordable mortgage
-Wage earners must demonstrate a steady source of income for at least two years;
-Meet necessary income-related qualifications that include a sufficient debt-to-income ratio; and
-Have reasonably good credit.
-Willingness to partner with Mid Florida Community Services, Inc.

For more information on House to Home, go to https://www.mfcs.us.com/-House-to-Home–10-1559096.html or call (352) 754-1159.
The program office is located at 19450 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34601. Don’t forget to visit the Thrift Store at this location that supports House to Home.

Rocco Maglio
Rocco Magliohttps://www.roccomaglio.com
Rocco Maglio is a co-founder of the Hernando Sun. He grew up in Brooksville and graduated from Hernando High. He then worked in technology for starting in the early 1990s. He was fascinated by the potential of the Internet even though at the time there were not graphical browsers. He recently earned a Master of Science in Information Technology with a specialization in Cybersecurity.
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