About Us

Who We Are

Happy Birthdays Unlimited is a long standing program run by the members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Grinnell, Iowa. Located across the street from the college campus, on the corner of 6th Ave & State Street, St. Paul’s is an active and diverse congregation who worship in a beautifully restored church (c. 1868) that was moved from the countryside to its current location in 1996.

St. Paul’s has strived to use its location, facilities, and resources to support a wide array of service programs for the local community, including hosting AA and other support groups, participating in the Community Meals Program, Meals on Wheels, Kids Against Hunger, MICA (Mid-Iowa Community Action), Project Home Mission, as well as some national programs like Episcopal Relief & Development and Church World Service.

Given the modest size of our congregation—approximately 50 members—the HBU program represents by far our largest commitment each year. Our volunteers typically bake more than 150 orders of brownies, cakes, cookies, & cupcakes in a given school year.  But the members of St. Paul’s really cherish the HBU program because it allows us to connect with Grinnell College Students and to offer a tangible service to their families, while the funds that we raise provide crucial support to our broader efforts of service and community outreach.

Our History

The Happy Birthdays program began in 1952, when new parishioners arrived at St. Paul’s with the idea of starting a baking fund-raiser that was modeled after the one they had seen in a college town in North Carolina where they had recently lived. In its early years, HBU bakers made everything from home-made pies to freshly-baked bread for students. And over the past 60 years, the kind of baked items we make as well as our survival packs have changed with the times. We recently added the option of cupcakes, for example, because of their growing popularity and because students had suggested that they were sometimes easier to eat and share in dorms. But the core values & purpose of our program—the idea that food, especially baked goods, offer a meaningful way of both connecting with and serving students & their families—continues to drive our efforts. And we often meet parents of Grinnell College students, who themselves, remember fondly getting HBU cakes when they were students here in the 1960s & 1970s. So our current bakers are understandably proud of the tradition that we carry on. And we hope to create lasting memories for your daughters and sons.

  • Happy Birthdays Unlimited, Grinnell, Iowa │ │515/497-0778
St. Paul's
Episcopal Church
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