The Birthday Giving Project

How Your Kids – Or You! – Can Help Kids with Less Have a Birthday Celebration

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 and deliver multiple boxes for a group of children. If you are making a lot of boxes, please make them for different ages!

To start, email us at birthdays@family-to-family.org and let us know if you’re making fewer than five boxes, or if you’re making a larger amount.  If it’s 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, after your boxes are made we’ll link you up with a pantry, battered women’s shelter or a homeless shelter in your area where you can deliver them.

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 (or use a party bag) in your house, and buy the things needed for a party. Include:

  • 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 children’s book for the aged child you are making the box for
  • another small $5-$10 dollar gift for that child.
  • If you like, you can include a goody bag filled with small surprises instead of the $5-$10 gift.

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.

Then:

  • Wrap the book and the small gift in birthday paper.
  • 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.
  • If you would like to give the child you’re giving your box to a chance to write back to you, include a postcard with a stamp on it, addressed to you, c/o Family to Family, PO Box 255, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, 10706. Then email us at kids@family-to-family.org, put “birthday postcards” in the subject of the email, and tell us your name and address. Also tell us that you’ve included a postcard in your box, so we’ll be able to forward the postcard to you if we get it.
  • You can also make a birthday card to put inside the box. Then tie the box closed with ribbon, and label it with the age and “boy” or “girl”. (For example, you might write “6 year old boy” or “10 year old girl”.)

Then deliver the box, or boxes to the shelter address we’ve given you (or pack them in a mailing carton and ship them 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.