NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Ella Dallow, Isabella Halstead and Lili Valletta, eighth graders at North Salem Middle School, spent their weekend collecting cake mixes, icing, candles, birthday-themed paper plates and napkins to make “birthday bags” for sick children and their families through Friends of Karen. After the collection, the girls assembled the items for all the makings of a birthday party. Friends of Karen sends the bags to families with a gift for the sick child and each of the siblings. 

On a recent Saturday, the girls set up a table at Stop and Shop and collected enough donations of money and items to be able to make 105 birthday bags, exceeding their goal.
Friends of Karen is a nonprofit organization based in North Salem that supports critically-ill children and their families.

The girls were overwhelmed with the generosity of the community and ended up staying longer than they planned because they were receiving many donations. 

To learn more about Friends of Karen, visit