This week the girls and I set aside the crafts to work on a unique service project! We are collecting birthday swag to deliver to the People’s Place Thrift Store & Food Pantry in Kingston. The Birthday Booth started in May 2015 when participants began asking for help providing birthday cakes for their children. Since then Christine Hein and her amazing staff have collected unwrapped toys, party supplies and cake donations for local families. I met with Christine hoping to get more details about how I can donate some birthday swag, but I walked away with a greater understanding of the People’s Place mission. (More about that below!).
What is birthday swag? Well to many of us it might look like goody bags, big bright decorations, balloons and favors, etc. We don’t think too much about giving our kids a big party with their friends. But, to families who are struggling to put food on the table it may be difficult to even provide the simple birthday essentials like a coordinated set of napkins, plates and birthday candles. It may even be a challenge to pay for a birthday cake to celebrate the day.
How to Host a Birthday Swag Party:
- Announce your party! Send an Evite, or create an event page on Facebook asking friends and family to donate at least one party supply item. Example: mom can donate one package of blue napkins, cousin Sarah can donate one package of blue plates and uncle John can donate a package of blue cups. Everyone can donate one item until you have a full set, or ask for complete coordinated character sets from each participant.
- Schedule pick up! Round up all the items by having everyone drop off to you, or you can travel to them. Collecting during your Thanksgiving, or holiday get together is a great way to gather everything in one place, and do something good as a family.
- Drop off! No need to sort the items, but do put them neatly in a box or bag to drop off to People’s Place in Kingston Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or Wednesday 5:30-7:30 p.m.
- YOU’RE DONE!! How easy is that?
Birthday Swag items can include, cake plates, napkins, cups, table cloth, crepe paper, birthday sign, birthday candles, balloons. All the simple elements a family can use to celebrate together at home. You can also donate cash, or gift cards to cover the cost of a birthday cake ($12-$15).
Collecting birthday party supplies may not seem like an essential need, but to a kid living with food insecurity facing a birthday without a celebration can be devastating- and to a parent heart breaking. If you would like to contribute to the Birthday Booth, volunteer or donate your good quality clothing and home goods; or if you live in Ulster County and need help providing essentials please call (845) 338-4030, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1972 the mission of People’s Place has been to feed and clothe the unemployed, the physically and mentally challenged, working poor, youth, and elderly in Ulster County. Please visit their website or follow them on Facebook to learn more. The 4,500 square foot thrift store financially supports the food pantry and other programs provided by this valuable organization. In 2014 they provided over 190,000 meals, over 8,000 articles of clothing and over 50,000 household items- all FREE to Ulster County residents in need. It is non-denominational and non-government funded. They are completely not-for-profit and serve the most essential needs of the community. They are always looking for volunteers!
Other programs offered through People’s Place: Summer Bookworm Program, Back to School Smart Starts, It’s a Thanksgiving Feast, Warm Coats from Warm Hearts, Jolly Holiday Toy Give-A-Way, Your Choice Food Pantry, The Personal Care Closet, Dress for Dignity, Farm Stand, Bag Summer Hunger. www.peoplesplacekingston.org
The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.