• Brandy O'Brien

Icing on the cake: Clubhouse cupcakes win at fundraiser

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Berkshire Pathways did it again. On Feb. 6, the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, clubhouse won the “Best Presentation” and “People’s Choice” awards at the sixth annual Cupcake Wars fundraiser at the Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-sponsored event raised more than $12,000 for the organization, which supports individuals with mental illness, their caregivers, and families throughout Berkshire County. David Brien, director of Berkshire Pathways, is also a board member of NAMI-Berkshire County.

Berkshire Pathways’ staff and members stand behind their winter wonderland-themed cupcake creation Feb. 6 at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) sixth-annual Cupcake Wars fundraiser at the Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The team won two prizes.

Berkshire Pathways presented a winter wonderland-themed setup showcasing more than 200 key lime cupcakes with white chocolate chips and a key lime cream cheese frosting. Eleven members participated in the making of the baked goods, designing the backdrop, and setting up the display. This year marks the fifth time the clubhouse staff and members have participated in the event and the third time they’ve won awards.

“It was fun and challenging,” said Jeannette, a Berkshire Pathways member. “I liked working with different people on different things and learning new skills.”

The team had initially planned to make red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate chips and an almond-flavored cream cheese frosting, but soon decided chocolate flavors are common and they wanted to present something unique, hence the key lime flavors.

To create the winter wonderland masterpiece, the team produced a display of a gingerbread village that was made from gingerbread, fondant, royal icing, edible glitter, sprinkles, sugar glass, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, candy, and trees created from sugar ice cream cones. An Oreo road connecting the buildings was buzzing with vehicles. In the construction of a few spots around the town, including the motorized carousel and buildings, a few nonedible materials were used, such as paper towel rolls, wooden blocks, hot glue, and a metal rod.

“It may not have been 100% edible, but it was as close as we could get,” said Erin O’Connor, clubhouse unit coordinator.

Berkshire Pathways is one of six clubhouses in Massachusetts. VIABILITY’s clubhouse-modeled programs are driven by a belief in recovery through work. Clubhouses provide members with a supportive environment to increase their vocational, educational, and social skills. With a primary focus on work and work-related activities, staff and members work together as partners in the operation of the clubhouse.