Kids donate 45 Birthday Bags for hungry children
“River rafters” and their families at Rolling River Day Camp provided birthday party gear for 45 local children who face food insecurity and donated the party bags to Interfaith Food Ministry.
Collecting the items for the Birthday Bags was the service project for the summer 2018 session. Rolling River Day Camp is hosted in the third week of July by four local faith congregations: PEACE Lutheran, Grass Valley and Nevada City United Methodist, and Emmanuel Episcopal churches.
This year, the faith-based camp received 50 children, who were attended by 25 adult teachers and 12 teen assistants.
The camp’s service project asked campers to donate materials that would ensure children in food-insecure families could celebrate their birthdays in style.
Volunteers sorted the donated party items and organized them into 45 party bags. Each one contains birthday-themed plates, napkins, cups, decorations, party favors, games and cakes fixings. Each holds enough to supply six children per bag, said day camp Director Margaret Boothby. Rolling River Day Camp offered campers, called “river rafters,” sessions in music, science, storytelling, crafts and recreation. Camp themes centered around local waterways and God’s call to be good stewards of creation.
“You’ve done something so amazing!” said IFM Development Director Kate LaFerriere, during the camp’s closing program late Thursday. “We’ve never had anything for birthdays before… You’re a saint today!”
The campers’ kindness can leave a lasting impact on the children they touch, LaFerriere added. “No one is ever too young or too old to make an impact,” she said. Then, she thanked the crowd gathered at Grass Valley United Methodist Church.
IFM is one of two local food pantries and provides fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, milk, eggs and staples to more than 8,000 people yearly. That includes more than 2,000 children. IFM estimates 12,000 Nevada County residents go to bed hungry every day, according to its website.
“We have a lot of children who may have to go without birthday parties. Now you’ve given them the gift of being able to celebrate their birthdays!” LaFerriere added.
In addition, church members donated generously to the party bag project.
Rolling River Day Camp comes again in July 2019.