I can’t think of one thing kids look forward to more than their birthday. There’s a big party, special cake, presents—sometimes a bouncy house or goodie bags. But what you fail to realize as a kid, and for me, even as an adult, is that not all families have the luxury to celebrate a child’s birthday. That’s why in 2012, Paige Chenault founded The Birthday Party Project, a nonprofit that specifically throws parties for children who are experiencing homelessness or occupying transitional living facilities.
Since its inception, The Birthday Party Project has celebrated over 7,000 birthdays in cities across the country. Jersey City is the organization’s latest addition and the first New Jersey community they hope to help. So-called “birthday enthusiasts” like Chenault are encouraged to volunteer, starting at ages 10 and up. Parties will be held on the second Wednesday of every month at York Street Project in Jersey City from 6:30pm to 8:30pm and typically need about 12 volunteers to assist in celebrating, decorating, singing and even eating cake.
A celebration by The Birthday Party Project can include everything from bingo games and petting zoos to painting pillowcases and DJ dance parties. Each child that’s celebrating a birthday that month will receive a gift along with a special birthday badge.
There are, of course, other ways to show the nonprofit your support if you are unable to volunteer such as donating money, party supplies and gifts, sponsoring one of their “Birthday in a Box,” or by accepting donations instead of gifts at your own birthday party.
The Birthday Party Project comes to Jersey City with the help of York Street Project whose mission it is to bring an end to poverty by helping homeless and disadvantaged women and children. Their programs provide people with basic needs, housing, education and childcare.
To learn how you can volunteer, please visit their website.