By: Noelle Lambert
The Charity of the Month for March is:
It’s not every day that you come across a group of people who are so selfless and who work tirelessly to give others the opportunity to have something that isn’t even a necessity. I happened to come across passionate and compassionate people like this and knew I had to feature what they do!
Birthday Wishes is an organization whose mission is to provide birthday parties to children experiencing homelessness. They improve and empower the lives of homeless children and their families by providing joy, play and hope through the magic of a birthday party.
Most people are so fortunate that they don’t even think twice about celebrating their birthday with gifts and a birthday cake; they just assume that will happen every birthday! But for some families, a birthday party is a luxury that they simply cannot afford. On their birthday, some children may not expect any gifts and cannot imagine their name on a birthday cake with brightly lit colorful candles just for them. This is where Birthday Wishes steps in!
Birthday Wishes began in Massachusetts and after the first national news story released featuring Birthday Wishes, a social worker from Long Island was so inspired that she contact the co-founder to bring the joy of a birthday party to the homeless community here on Long Island. Birthday Wishes of Long Island began having parties in one shelter, and today they work with 80 shelters/transitional housing programs in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Each month they give more than 120 children a birthday celebration!
Each birthday child receives supplies to have a party with all the children that live in the shelter, such as juice boxes, cake or cupcakes, candles, decorations, paper good and yes, a wonderful bag of presents to open! Birthday Wishes serves children ages 1-19.
This organization provides birthday parties through two programs. One program is their On-Site Party Program, which provides monthly parties at the shelters they serve and this celebrates all children with birthdays in that month. The second program is their Birthday-in-a-Box Program, which provides a party packed into a birthday box, which is delivered to families in domestic violence and scattered sites.
In 2018, Birthday Wishes of Long Island served 669 girls and 619 boys with more than 6,500 homemade cupcakes, more than 6,000 goody bags, 1,200 craft and activity kits, 7,728 gifts wrapped and delivered and more than 1,100 Birthday-in-a-Box Kits built by volunteers.
All of their birthday parties are run by carefully trained and background-checked volunteers, who participate as individuals, families and groups. Their grassroots philosophy fosters the spirit of volunteerism and community service in adults, children and families, who donate their time and resources! Birthday Wishes is the first organization in the entire nation, and the only one on Long Island, to provide this invaluable service.
A great way to support Birthday Wishes is to attend or sponsor their 2nd annual Food, Wine, & Wishes Event on March 20th at Appliance World of Huntington. This is a fun evening of chef tastings from top Long Island restaurants, as well as terrific silent auctions and over 75 raffles. To purchase tickets, please visit www.LongIsland.BirthdayWishes.org/Food-Wine-Wishes. Tickets are $60.00 per person and sponsorship opportunities are available. Feel free to call their office at (516) 390-3505 for additional information.
If you would like your organization to be featured in this column, please email Noelle@SouthBaysNeighbor.com!