Making Every Birthday Count for National Make a Difference Day

Updated: 10/26/2013 7:35 PM
Created: 10/26/2013 12:09 PM
By: Katherine Johnson

What separates a birthday from every other day of the year? It's special. That key word. And to make you feel special, you get presents.

"I think it's really important for every child to experience that on every birthday," said volunteer Natalie Mathias.

But there are thousands of Minnesota children who don't get anything even on that special day.

"There are so many parents today who simply can't afford even a simple gift and so their child's birthday goes unrecognized," said President of Cheerful Givers, Karen Kitchel.

In honor of National Make a Difference Day, Cheerful Givers organized an assembly line of all ages to change that by packing gift bags for children in need. They gathered at the Thomson Reuters headquarters in Eagan.

"I was very fortunate to always grow up with a present," said Mathias.

She chose to celebrate her own 21st birthday by filling the bags.

"I wouldn't want to spend my birthday any way else," she said.  "This is just a perfect opportunity to give back to the community."

The goal is to fill 3,000 birthday bags to distribute to shelves and shelters throughout the state.

"They're not coming from us," said Kitchel. "They're coming from a parent to their child on their one special day."

So parents in need can give a birthday gift and separate the special day from all the others.

To donate, click here.

200 volunteers packed gift bags for children who can't depend on getting a single gift on their birthdays.
Photo: KSTP/Katherine Johnson

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