The Birthday Giving Project 
How Your Kids – Or You! – Can Help Kids with Less
Put a Birthday in a Box!

A Concrete, Hands-on Way to Give

It’s hard for many of us – adults or children – to imagine celebrating a child’s birthday without a party or presents. But for many of the families we serve, finding the extra money to afford a child’s birthday celebration is a struggle at best, and frequently impossible.

F-to-F’s Birthday Giving Project is designed to help these families by providing a small “party in a box” for a child in need… and at the same time gives children with “more” the opportunity to learn empathy in a concrete way by helping another child.

The idea is to decorate and fill shoe boxes with everything needed for a small birthday party. (Or, pretty, decorated shopping bags can be used instead.)  Each box goes to a different child. You or your child can make one birthday box for one child, or a class, scout group, church or synagogue group can put together many boxes for a group of children. If you are making a lot of boxes, PLEASE make them for a variety of ages!

To start, email us at and let us know if you’re making fewer than five boxes, or if you’re making a larger number.  If fewer than five, we ask that you ship it/them to one of the impoverished communities we serve through our hunger relief program.

If it’s five or more, we’ll link you up after your boxes are complete with a pantry, battered women’s shelter or a homeless shelter in your area where you can drop them off.

DIRECTIONS: (For a printable version, click here.)

Pick an age (or ages), and choose either boy(s) or girl(s) to send your box to. (For example, you might choose a 9-year-old girl, or a 4-year-old boy.)

Find a large sneaker-sized shoe box, and buy the things needed for a party. (Or use a pretty birthday shopping bag.)


• a box of cake mix
• a can of frosting
• birthday candles (no matches please!)
• a wall decoration (like streamers, or a happy birthday banner)
• a new children’s book for the age child you are making the box for
• another ($10-$15) gift or toy for that child.
• If you like, you can also include a goody bag filled with small surprises, or other small items.

If your child is making the box, he or she can raise the money to buy the birthday items at a bake sale, or yard sale, or by doing extra chores around the house.


  1. Wrap the book and the small gift in birthday paper.
  2. Wrap the top and bottom of the shoe box separately (so that even wrapped, the box can be opened), and fill the wrapped box with the things you have gathered.
  3. If you want to give the recipient child a chance to write to you, include a stamped, postcard addressed to:  YOUR NAME, C/O FAMILY-TO-FAMILY, PO BOX 255, HASTINGS ON HUDSON, N.Y., 10706. Then email us at and tell us your name, address and that you’ve included a postcard in your box, so we’ll be able to forward it to you if we get it back.
  4. You can also make a birthday card to put inside the box.
  5. Then tie the box closed with ribbon, and label it with the age you chose and “boy” or “girl”. (For example, “6-7 year old boy” or “10-11 year old girl”.)

Then deliver the boxes, or bags, to the shelter address we gave you,  or pack it/them up in a mailing carton and ship it to the F-to-F community address we have sent you.

The Birthday Giving Project may qualify as a community service requirement for your child’s scout troop, school, church or temple.