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Tarpon bakery holds back-to-school fundraiser

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Published:   |   Updated: August 7, 2013 at 01:19 PM

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TARPON SPRINGS — Getting her new small business sustainably up and running is obviously a primary focus for Amber Wardia,

The Enchanted Oven Bakery and Sugar Art opened its doors at 1810 S. Pinellas Ave. in January and word of its gourmet quality fare has been steadily getting around. But in addition to providing area sweet tooths with an array of freshly baked pastries, custom cakes, cookies, breads and more, Wardia and her staff are intently interested in giving more.

“It’s a bakery, but a bakery with spirit,” Wardia said Saturday afternoon while standing behind two display cases filled with cookies and creatively decorated cupcakes.

What Wardia was referring to was a spirit of giving and of community that she hopes to continue as The Enchanted Oven continues to establish itself in the area. Typically a normal day of operation, this past Saturday was instead dedicated to charity. The bakery partnered with the Clearwater-based nonprofit RCS Pinellas to raise money and back-to-school-related items for local families in need.

RCS Pinellas has worked to help feed the hungry, aid homeless or struggling families and assist victims of domestic violence in various forms and fashions since 1967. The organization focuses on providing for those in North Pinellas and operates a food bank, shelter, safe haven for domestic violence victims and a thrift store.

In addition to having all proceeds from sold items going to RCS Pinellas-affiliated families with school-aged children, Saturday’s event raised other funds. A two-day, one-night stay at Beso Del Sol Resort in Dunedin was given away. In addition, there was a silent auction for doated items and services and a Pie in the Face contest.

Wardia hopes Saturday’s event was the first of many. She was immediately drawn to RCS Pinellas after participating in a fundraiser event earlier this year. Since that initial encounter,

The Enchanted Oven has been regularly donating its unsold items to the RCS food bank each Saturday as well as periodically custom designing birthday cakes for needy families with children on their special day.

“RCS does a lot for kids around here,” she said between helping a pair of customers coming back for seconds. “We saw how amazing they were and just had to get involved.”

Deb Gatley, donor and volunteer relationship manager with RCS Pinellas, attended Saturday’s fundraiser and praised the group effort of the bakery. Wardia received plenty of assistance from her sister, Jade Stoll, and Kassie Berrios, a recent graduate of Tarpon Springs High School’s Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy.

“These girls did a fabulous job today. Ever since we met them for RCS Possible they’ve been great,” Gately said, referring to the organization’s fundraiser earlier this year.

The Enchanted Oven Bakery and Sugar Art is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. The store can be contacted by calling (727) 940-5391 and more information can be found on its website at www.enchantedoven.com.

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