EAST MANATEE -- The sweet, familiar scent of a Publix bakery wafted through the room Friday at Braden River Elementary.
Heart-shaped cakes lined long tables ready to be decorated by tiny hands for Mother's Day.
Demi Herard and the rest of her fifth-grade classmates bedecked their desserts with candy-colored sprinkles, pink icing and edible flowers.
"I'm going to have to put this in the fridge 'til Sunday," Herard said seriously as she stuck a flower on.
In a yearly tradition, a local Publix brings in cakes for Braden River Elementary kids to festoon in honor of Mother's Day. This year, employees from the Publix on Market Street in Lakewood Ranch hauled in 294 cakes and decorating kits. Each stu
dent bought a cake for $8, with $1.50 going toward fundraising efforts for the school.
"It's so nice for the school, but it's also nice for their moms," said Assistant Principal Jennie Grimes.
Fourth-grader Devon Brown ripped open his package of sprinkles and dumped them right on. No qualms about it.
"If I had a sleepover at my friend's house, I think that would be the perfect Mother's Day because there would be no children," he said, smiling.
Publix cake decorator Veronica Colombaro was most impressed by Owen Darley's creation. The fourth-grader strategically placed his sprinkles around the edges of the cake in rainbow blooms.
"For some of them, this is the Mother's Day present that they wish to give," said Lisa Camuto, senior secretary and bookkeeper at Braden River. "And there's nothing better than something homemade."
Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow @sabrinarocco on Twitter.