Busy Tamaques Elementary mothers Stacy Bergerman and Jennifer Wilner decided they wanted to make a difference in their community. After years of throwing fun-filled birthday celebrations for their own children, the moms felt it was time to bring this happiness to kids who might not as fortunate. And so The Birthday Box was born. The non-profit organization works to ensure that children, regardless of their families’ financial status, can enjoy their special day by receiving a box with all the items needed for a proper birthday party, including a cake, candles, party decorations and new wrapped-up gift.
Bergerman and Wilner work with local organizations and agencies in Union, Essex and Middlesex Counties, such as transitional housing facilities or after-school programs, to identify a child who will likely not be receiving any special recognition on their birthday due to financial and other constraints. Bergerman and Wilner then create a customized package – based solely on a child’s age and first name – which is anonymously delivered to help ensure the birthday boy or girl has a happy, tailored celebration. To raise funds and obtain gifts, The Birthday Box holds events and donation drives with various schools and organizations in Union and Essex Counties.
Westfield's Tamaques School hosts a Birthday Box donation bin year-round in the lobby to collect items needed to be included in the birthday boxes, such as new gifts, forks, candles and wrapping paper and tape.
"Every month I make an effort to drop off something with my children, whether it be leftover party favors, wrapping paper, a new book, or a present my child had a duplicate of from his birthday party. I think it's a great way to remind our children how lucky they are, and that giving back to others less fortunate is critical," said one Tamaques mother
The Birthday Box is growing fast. Since it started in 2010, The Birthday Box has delivered almost 700 boxes, 42% of them from this year alone. Deliveries almost doubled this year versus last year. Additionally, in line with a vision to help children not just in the local NJ area, but around the country as well, the organization started a division in Maryland in 2013.
Please visit www.thebirthdaybox.org for more information and to see what you can to do be a part of this organization, or email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.