The City's Cheerleader
Davida Baker has placed two chairs and a table near the curb of the street where she lives in Old Town Lilburn.
Elderly walkers, she reasons, may need to sit and rest a spell on their jaunts around the neighborhood. The gesture is vintage Baker, a decades-long Gwinnett resident who relocated here about a year ago. She’s fallen in love with the town’s people, places, events and over-all quality of life.
And it shows in the giving and generosity she spreads, making the community a nicer, quainter place. Mayberry like. Baker has the perfect last name, given the retired widow has been known to drop off a cake or some other fresh-baked goodies to say, “Thank you” or simply “Have a good day.”
Recipients of her baked goods include Gwinnett County firefighters (her father was a firefighter), the front-desk staff at Lilburn City Hall, police and Public Works’ crews. Those on the receiving end of her gratefulness call her “a ray of sunshine” and the city’s “cheerleader.”
“The power of saying, ‘Thank you’ and ‘I appreciate you’ goes a long way,” said Baker, before giving into her comedic streak. “Besides, I should make cakes because it keeps me out of juvenile detention. The police department is happy I am doing this!” Jokes aside, Baker pours her passion, creativity and love into every yummy, made-from-scratch treat she concocts. Her baking portfolio includes, but isn’t limited to, sour cream pound cake, pineapple-upside-down cake, triple chocolate cake and apple bread, which she made for me to share with my colleagues at City Hall during my recent visit.
Baker’s mindfulness and sense of community has been a long-standing trait that shines through in various ways. In 2012, the United Way Women’s Leadership Council in Gwinnett awarded Baker its Women’s Legacy Award. The award recognized her efforts in helping those in the community while balancing, family, volunteering and a managing a career.
Two years ago, county officials named a sidewalk along Britt Road at Norcross Tucker Road in her honor due to her decades-long community involvement. Currently, she’s a board member for the Gwinnett County Department of Family and Children Services. She volunteers for homeless initiatives and mans the helpline for the Gwinnett County Coalition for Health and Human Services.
She also helped found the Campus Church’s Project Kids Eat, which feeds the needy during Thanksgiving. So, for Baker, baking treats to uplift others is no stretch, especially in her hometown. “It’s a sweet place, she said, “like La-La Land. The neighbors are kind but not overwhelming. They always let you know they are there, but they are kind, quiet, peaceful people.”