Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful for... birthdays

Birthday Cake
Courtesy of Will Clayton
I have been pretty fortunate in terms of birthdays.  I have had an opportunity to celebrate 34 birthdays of my own, as well as countless birthdays for those I love.  Whether the celebrations were large or small, whether they included cake, cupcakes, presents, balloons, or games, each and every birthday has always been about celebrating.  Birthdays are meant to be celebrated.  You celebrate the life of the person being honored, and all the wonderful contributions that he or she has made to the world.  Because we all contribute, and we all are worth celebrating.

Unfortunately, there are tons of kids out there who do not get to celebrate birthdays.  These are kids living in poverty, or shelters.  Can you imagine, for one moment, being a child who never had a birthday cake, or never got a birthday present?  For some families, these things are luxuries.  When you have no home, or no idea what you will be eating that week, baking a birthday cake is simply not on your radar.  So, for one moment, think back to your least happy birthday.  The year that you wanted a big party and had a sleep over instead.  The year you got an iPod nano instead of an iPhone.  The year you were on a diet and had to skip your own birthday cake.  Now consider how much joy your least happy birthday would have brought to a homeless or at risk child.

There is a wonderful organization in the Pittsburgh area called Beverly's Birthdays, which partners with local emergency shelters to provide monthly birthday parties for the children residing in the shelters.  What an incredible act of love this is.  Imagine the smile on a child's face when he or she tastes their very own birthday cake, or opens a birthday present, perhaps for the first time ever.

For my local readers, you have wonderful opportunities to get involved with this organization.  They are always in need of volunteers and donations, and their website has information on both.  Founder Megan Yunn also has lots of great fundraisers throughout the year at the Beverly's Birthdays Blog.

For my non-local readers, if this is something that touches your heart, see if there is a similar organization in your area.  If there is not, why not start one?

Today, I am thankful for the birthday celebrations I have had, and have attended for the people I love.  And I am thankful that I have a chance to bring that joy to a child in need.