Parties for Charity
Bronwyn’s 8th birthday party was pretty ordinary in many ways. She and 12 guests went to the park where they played outdoor games and painted faces; near the end of the party, they feasted on cake and ice cream. But she didn’t get any presents.
Instead, her invitation asked guests to bring anything kids might need to throw a party (balloons, cake mix, party favors) so she could donate the supplies to a local food shelf, the Community Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP) in Brooklyn Park.
Wini, Bronwyn’s mom, says her older son has had similar parties since he was about seven. He took friends to pack food at Feed My Starving Children for one party, and at another auctioned small items to guests and donated the profits to Free Arts MN. But this was Bronwyn’s first venture into charitable party territory. “When we went to drop off the bags, they [at CEAP] were over the moon,” Wini says.
The party guests seemed pretty into it too, Wini says. Two sisters brought huge bags full of cake mix, frosting, invitations, noisemakers, cutlery, and themed decorations — and probably spent more than they typically would on a birthday present.
“It was awesome to see how these kids thought about other kids,” Wini says. “Some parents just don’t have the money to get the traditional stuff for a kids party. The kids really did understand.”
“Celebrations can be a teachable moment,” Wini says. “I want my children to think of others and their community as they grow up, not just themselves. Their birthdays are a perfect time to remember this.”