By Addie Rising, SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits.
In my 14 years of parenting, one aspect I have yet to master is the dreaded birthday party. There’s the cleaning — if you’re hosting. The entertainment — and subsequent cost. The food. And please, let’s not forget the treat bags. Kids who attend your party will have fun. With any luck, your child will remember the party and then you’ll spend the next 364 days trying to one-up yourself.
But what if your child’s fun helped someone else? What if birthday parties and celebrations benefitted more than just the birthday child and his or her friends? What a wonderful world it would be!
There are roads to drive the party bus down that actually have purpose. Here are a few ideas:
Get Your Group On
Many organizations in Charlotte can help coordinate a group volunteer activity. One example would be to help Loaves & Fishes by sorting items in their distribution center. Loaves & Fishes welcomes children ages 5 and up and groups of up to 20 people. Spending time working together for a good cause is a great way to celebrate.
Give it Away Now
In lieu of presents, accept donations for a local organization. If your child loves animals, encourage partygoers to bring pet food or toys to take to the Humane Society of Charlotte. If your child is a bookworm, collect books for Promising Pages to help turn other children into bookworms (HINT: books for Promising Pages don’t even have to be brand new. They LOVE books that have been well-loved!).
Art from the Heart
Does your child like to draw or paint or create? Get a group of children together and create note cards with words of encouragement that can be distributed at places like Hope Haven, Inc. Kristi DeMeritte, volunteer coordinator at Hope Haven, Inc. says these cards and words become a source of hope for their residents who struggle with addiction and who are in recovery. “It just means so much,” she said.
SHARE Your Party
There are children in our community that may never have the luxury of a birthday party. Bright Blessings works to provide parties and celebrations to over 4,000 homeless or impoverished children in the Charlotte area. Consider working with Bright Blessings to participate in one of their programs for your child’s birthday party.
These are just a few ideas to take away your party-planning burden — while easing a neighbor’s burden. To see more local volunteer opportunities, visit SHARECharlotte.com.