Local non-profit Brighter Birthdays is looking for volunteers to help stuff backpacks along with donations of school supplies as the organization begins ramping up for school in August.
For those unfamiliar with Brighter Birthdays, the organization delivers backpack or draw string bags full birthday gifts, school supplies and other living essentials to local schools. School counselors will then distribute the bags to kids they think won’t get much of a birthday at home, Founder Cristin Warden said.
Warden said Brighter Birthdays is preparing to serve between 2,500- 3,000 students during the 2019-2020 school year. Even though the beginning of school is about a month away, the organization is working to make sure when August comes around they are prepared.
“We need to be ready to go in a month,” Warden said.
The first bags for the upcoming school year have already been packed, a release said, thanks to the help of the Model High School cheerleaders. Warden said one of the moms of the cheerleaders reached out to Brighter Birthdays about how the girls could help.
Brighter Birthdays brought the supplies to Model High, where the girls spent about an hour stuffing bags full of birthday essentials.They were joined by local author Don Carlton, who signed copies of his award winning children’s book “Ollie and the Wise Old Owl” which was added to each bag.
Warden said the girls packed just under 100 of the bags during one of their practices, and a group of 10 people can get the same amount done in about an hour.
“We can bring the stuff to them or they can come to us,” she said.
Brighter Birthdays is also looking for donations of school supplies to go in the bags she added. Donations of pens, pencils, lip balm and other school supplies will be accepted, for a current updated list from the organization itself email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The organization has also started a toy “shop” at Restoration Rome for foster families to find toys for their kids. The shop is free to foster families, and allows them to pick out a toy for a child’s birthday.
Warden said the organization has also started providing first mom necessities for local teen moms. She said the organization does not directly come into contact with the moms, but instead reaches out to them through local school counselors. Brighter Birthdays provides the new moms with diapers, wipes, soaps and baby blankets.
For more information on Brighter Birthdays visit their website www.brighterbirthdays.org.