Twila Reber (left) and Lexi Hull show off their Tastykake haul. Photo courtesy of Phoebe Berks.

Founded in 1914, the Tastykake is a Philadelphia institution that has remained popular for over a century. The same could be said for Twila Reber, a resident at Phoebe Berks in Wernersville, PA who will turn 104 on May 17. 

Her reward? Enjoying more than a few — actually, way more than a few dozen — Tastykakes gifted from her admirers. 

“I really wanted to do something special for Twila’s birthday. When I approached her about it, I asked, ‘Is there something special you’ve always wanted that you never got?’ and she told me all she wanted was Tastykakes,” said Alexandria “Lexi” Hull, the Community Life Lead for the Phoebe Berks Health Care Center. “I wanted to try to make it as big as possible for her. At first, I was just hoping to get 104 packs. We’ve exceeded that now. I’m trying to get a hundred and four boxes and I’m positive that we’re gonna get that for her.”

A staunch brand loyalist, it’s Tastykakes or nothing for Reber. 

As she puts it, they are a “no-nonsense cookie.” Tastykakes come in all different flavors from classic butterscotch Krimpets to sticky buns. She exclusively eats Tastykakes, no Hostess or Little Debbie whatsoever. Although she grew up on a Pennsylvania Dutch family farm and lived in Pennsylvania her entire life, she didn’t try the famous snack cakes until she got married as an adult. The rest is history. 

Hull created a Facebook page soliciting Tastykakes for the upcoming birthday bash. Not only has she received boxes of Tastykakes packs but also a multitude of kind notes wishing Reber a happy birthday. Hull is not surprised by the massive outpouring of support. She says it’s because of Reber’s infectious kindness and positivity. Originally a volunteer at the community, Reber has now lived at Phoebe Berks for more than 30 years and has made a big impression. Because she has enough Tastykakes to survive a nuclear apocalypse, she plans to share them with everyone in the facility. A fitting “just desserts” for a super-sweet human being.

“Twila is the most loving person you’ll ever meet. If you’re having a bad day, she always has a hug for you, a kind word,” said Hull. “She’s known for her famous back rubs when staff come in — she likes to rub their back because she can’t do the things that she used to in terms of volunteering. When residents are at the end of their life, we have volunteers who sit with them, and she did that. If they called Twila, if it was within her means to do it, she was always willing. And so I think that’s why this has gotten as big as it did, because she is so well loved.”