No cake, no candles. That’s the reality faced by many children in the community whose parents can’t afford to host even a modest birthday party. That’s also the objective to overcome for a young St. Albert resident and long-time Girl Guide.
Amanda Magyar went to the Mustard Seed Church in downtown Edmonton at the end of last year to participate in a Christmas present wrapping party. That experience really hit home that children in financially struggling families feel the sting of poverty year round — at dinnertime, holidays and even their birthdays.
Magyar has set up the Birthday Bags for Kids n’Need Campaign as a way of collecting supplies to help those people out.
“There are kids out there who don’t get to celebrate birthdays because some parents or families can’t even afford the cost of food,” the enthusiastic 17-year-old humanitarian said. “I talked to lots of people about it and they said, ‘I never really thought about it.’ You just assume that everyone gets a birthday party, right?”
The Birthday Bags campaign started last Monday with several pink collection boxes at various locations including Fountain Park Recreation Centre, both Safeway locations, Beaners, both Save On Foods locations, fire station No. 3, and the food bank itself.
The objective is to collect enough birthday related supplies — paper plates, cake mixes, icing, sprinkles, napkins, balloons, candles and cake pans — for 300 individuals before Dec. 15.
Birthday Bags isn’t Magyar’s first effort to help those in need. A few years ago when she volunteered to help the St. Albert Kinettes with their annual Christmas hamper campaign. She also works as a Ranger with her Guide group, plus she’s working toward achieving the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a program for young people between 14 and 25 that encourages personal growth and volunteerism.
All that experience has helped Magyar prepare for Birthday Bags.
“When you think about it, people who go to the food bank can’t even afford groceries to put on the table so how they can afford a child having a birthday party. Sometimes they don’t even want to bring it up and say ‘happy birthday’.
“It would be good they can even have a little bit of a celebration.”
For more information please email Magyar at [email protected] or check out her Facebook page at ‘Birthday Bags for Kids n’Need Campaign.’