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 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.

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 (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 ($10-$15) gift for that child.
  • If you like, you can also include a goody bag filled with small surprises

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.


  • Wrap the book and the 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, 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 “6-7 year old boy” or “10-11 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.