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 and drop off (or send) one birthday box for one child, or a class, scout group, church or synagogue group can put together and deliver 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’d rather drop off your box(es) locally or ship them to one of the communities where Family-to-Family sends food.  If you want to deliver them locally, we’ll link you up with a pantry, battered women’s shelter or a homeless shelter in your area.  If you’d rather ship your boxes, we’ll provide the address.

Then, pick an age, and choose either boy or girl 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 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 gently used book from your house that the child you are sending to would probably like
  • a small $5-$10 dollar 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.)

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.