Brighter Birthdays has brought me on quite a journey. Really, I was hit from all sides with the vague concept of doing something to honor the birthdays of the children in my community that are not able to celebrate them.
First, I read an article in a magazine about a group that throws birthday parties once a month for homeless children in their area. Second, it was Christmas time, so there were countless opportunities in and around Rome to buy presents for children in our area that were from families that just could not afford to provide gifts for their children. I was also looking for a way to have my chronically ill daughter serve her community without further compromising her health.
God put this idea on my heart and would not let it out. I did not know exactly what it would look like at the time. After countless conversations with dear friends and my family and lots of prayer, I decided to ask about partnering with a local group that provides bags of food to 250 children in the county to eat over the weekend. I really thought that we would be packing a bag full of candy with a homemade card into a Ziploc to add to their existing food bags. Well, it just took off from there.
Several sweet homeschool families joined in on the project. A local dentist gave us 250 backpacks to give to the children and businesses around town donated items to fill these backpacks. A local toy store offered to order toys and crafts at cost for us. Churches either donated to us or allowed us to make announcements to raise money to pay for toys and birthday party items. One precious women bought bibles for every bag. The bags were so much more than I could have imagined. It was so exciting to see that they were something that kids could truly be excited to receive.
It was clear that there was more need out there. I took another step of faith and incorporated the project as a nonprofit. Now as we are on the verge of our second year we have requests for well over 1,000 bags. This is such an exciting project. I hope that we bring a little happiness to under-resourced children.