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During the Great Depression, people sold apples in the streets to get enough money for their next meal. Fast-forward 80 years to another recession and meet Angela Logan, who is selling apple cakes to friends, neighbors and total strangers over the Internet to get enough money to save her home from foreclosure.
Like so many great ideas, it was born of sheer desperation, Logan told TODAY’s Ann Curry Tuesday in New York. After 20 years of living in her home in Teaneck, N.J., a double financial whammy pushed her to the brink of losing it.
The first hit was a home construction project to repair storm damage and make other improvements. The contractor turned out to be less than honest and hit Logan with thousands of dollars in overcharges she hadn’t planned on. Then an agency that represented Logan in her work as an actor went under, taking thousands of dollars she had coming to her with it.
Logan’s fiance and one of her three sons exhausted their savings trying to help keep her afloat. Finally, she applied for help under President Obama’s Making Home Affordable plan. After three months of waiting for a response from the holder of her mortgage, she learned just two weeks ago that she had 10 days to make a $2,500 mortgage payment that would begin to qualify her for the federal program.
“We were in limbo for a long time. Then, all of a sudden, bam, we had to have this amount of money three months in a row in order to have our mortgage,” Logan told Curry. “I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity to come out of foreclosure.”
Logan, the 55-year-old mother of three sons, is also a substitute teacher and is studying at Bergen Community College in New Jersey to become a nurse. She hit on the idea of selling the scrumptious apple cake her grandmother taught her to bake when she was a child in Atlanta.
“I asked the kids, ‘What do you think about me selling this cake to pay the mortgage?’ ” Logan related to Curry. “The kids — who usually say, ‘Nah, that’s a bad idea ’cause Mom said it’ — said, ‘Yeah, we love your cake. We think it would be a great idea.’
“So we said, ‘What will we call it? We’ll call it Mortgage Apple Cake.’ ”
Selling like (hot) cakes
The cake is made with organic ingredients, and after some research, Logan decided that $40 was a reasonable price. She figured if she could sell 100 cakes, she could keep her home.
Her local newspaper, The Record of Hackensack, N.J., heard about Logan’s efforts to bake herself out of foreclosure and wrote a story about her. Other newspapers followed up, along with local television stations. Before Logan knew what had hit her, she had orders for 500 cakes.
She was getting up at 3 a.m. to bake the cakes one at a time in her own kitchen, but there was no way she could fill so many orders. She also didn’t know how she could deliver cakes to addresses all over the United States as well as overseas.
Angels to the rescue
Into the breach stepped two angels. The Hilton Hotel in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., read about her efforts and offered her the use of its kitchen, free of charge. That was vital, because health officials in her hometown had decided she couldn’t run a commercial bakery from her home.
“She was staying up all hours of the night trying to bake cakes,” said Kaye, who joined Logan on TODAY. “I said, ‘Bake Me A Wish is going to come here and we’re going to bail you out. We’re going to help you pay your mortgage.’ And we started to bake cakes for her.”
Logan delivered her first mortgage payment on time, and expects to make the next two payments, which will make her eligible for a renegotiated loan that will knock $1,000 off her monthly mortgage payment.
“We’re going to give a portion of all the sales we have to giving back to other people in need,” Kaye said. “We’re negotiating with a charity right now to enable them to do that.”
Said Logan as Curry dug a fork into a big wedge of the moist and delectable Mortgage Apple Cake, “It’s all so fast, I cannot believe it. It’s like a dream come true. It’s surreal.”