For my daughter’s birthdays, we have always requested that people don’t bring a gift. We have the means to get her what she needs (toys, clothes, etc.), and she has very generous grandparents. Also, the rest of the family typically loads her up at Christmas time.
As her birthday rolls around each year, no one listens to our request. People feel it’s rude to come empty handed with no physical gift. So last year, we started requesting that in lieu of a gift, we would like people to donate to a charity. Last year, we had people make their checks out to ReClaim3d and did the same thing for our other daughter’s 1st birthday.
This year I showed my older daughter the different booths during Spark Tank, a series about taking action. Different organizations, such as Destiny Rescue, Feed My Starving Children, Chicago’s Good News DayCare, and Channahon-Minooka Rotary Club presented on local, regional, and global issues and gave clear action steps on how to be part of the solution.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
– 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)
We let her choose what charity she wanted to give to. She chose the Rotary Club’s Backpack Program stating,
“I’d love snacks in my backpack…Can I have snacks in my backpack, please?”
I promised to put some snacks in her backpack but explained that not all mommies and daddies have enough money to do that. That was why we were giving our money to those kids. My daughter was able to raise $170 from friends and family at her party for the charity. In addition, she also raised $5 from complete strangers she met at a restaurant. She told them it was almost her birthday and they asked what she wanted this year. She told them money for kids who don’t have food, so they gave her $5.
We are really proud of her because throughout the whole process, she did say that she wanted just a few toys for herself, but she was completely excited to give her money to the Backpack Program. She even reprimanded her grandma for bringing a present because that was against the rules. It is refreshing to see generosity at a young age and serves as a great example of doing good with what you have. The best birthday gift can be helping others.