BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater resident Eli Goldstein plans parties through his work at Meadowbrook Day Camp – but with families in quarantine and children celebrating birthdays alone, he decided to change things up a little.

“We are always thinking about the families and a child’s birthday party should always be the most special day of the year,” he said. “It was an essential transition to adapt to the virtual world and create a plan to make sure any child can feel the love of their family and friends with a birthday party.”

Goldstein said he has already put together about 20 parties, many of them for Bridgewater families, with a number planned for the coming weeks.

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He said the way it works is that a party director from Meadowbrook hosts a call for the group, and, during a 30-minute party, there is a magician, scavenger hunt, other customized games and the singing of the birthday song. They also send over pizza and cake to the family.

All of this is done at no cost to the families, and they can invite up to 15 friends on the Zoom call.

“The reciprocation of the birthday child smiling and covered with the emotion that this is their day and moment makes it a huge success,” he said. “We will run these parties for as long as we need to, until the families are able to return to a more traditional style of party.”

Goldstein said the reactions from the kids has been better than expected.

“They absolutely love their moment, and many have said how they will remember this party forever due to the unique nature of it,” he said. “The parents appreciate the extra time we spend prior to the party to customize it for the child.”

Goldstein said the goal is simply that for a child who may not fully understand the true scope of what is going on and is feeling the stress of the world, he or she still gets to celebrate their special birthday.

“We have no end goal here, other than to do our part,” he said. “Making a child smile and feel loved is all we hope to get out of this.”