A Mom From Texas Throws Birthday Parties for Homeless Kids, and It Melts Our Hearts
“Eat. Sleep. Party. Repeat.” This is the mantra for Paige Chenault, a professional wedding planner from Texas who has changed her clientele from brides-to-be to children in need. In 2012 Paige organized The Birthday Party Project that helps host birthday parties for kids from homeless shelters or transitional living facilities. Together with the team of volunteers, Paige has made thousands of kids all over the US happier on their special day.
Here at Bright Side, we were inspired by this wonderful woman’s story and her colleagues, and we can’t wait to share it with you!
How it all started
Paige Chenault had been a wedding planner in Dallas for about a decade when all of a sudden she realized that her real mission was different. Paige, then pregnant with her daughter, was reading magazines on a plane. She saw an article about hosting gorgeous birthday parties for kids and imagined how wonderful it would be to throw those parties for her own daughter, using her professional skills.
A moment later she opened another magazine with a picture of a homeless boy, and the picture smacked her in the face. “I was truly frozen in that moment. These words came over me: What about him? Someone has got to find a way to celebrate children that would otherwise not feel celebrated,” Paige recollected in one of her interviews.
Paige tried to figure out how she could give back all the good she had, and in 2012 she partnered with a local homeless shelter. The woman started visiting kids in the shelter on every third Thursday of the month, bringing cakes, gifts, games, and activities. For a couple of hours, homeless kids could feel the real atmosphere of a birthday celebration. Little by little, Paige’s startup gained momentum, attracting more and more people who wanted to help.
It takes a team to help kids in need have birthday parties of their dreams.
Aside from Paige, the CEO and chief enthusiast, the team of The Birthday Party Project (TBPP) has several coordinators who help organize the activities with hundreds of volunteers all around the country. The project is growing and it now brings joy to kids in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Kansas City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New York City, among other places. Apart from volunteers who come to help with decorations, games and food, the project partners with numerous companies who want to make a difference.
These amazing people have hosted more than 7,000 birthday parties so far, and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
TBPP has its own heartwarming statistics: the volunteers have so far thrown more than 7,000 birthday parties for 42,000 of kids who have eaten 55,000 cupcakes and cracked 36,000 glowsticks with countless smiles on their faces.
It sounds sad, but some of the kids had never had birthday parties before the volunteers from TBPP gave them this opportunity. In one of her interviews, Paige recalled a story of a 4-year-old girl who felt confused when she saw a birthday cake with candles in front of her. The girl who fled domestic violence simply didn’t know what to do with lit candles since she had never had a real birthday celebration before.
Many of us take birthday parties for granted but there are people for whom warm family celebrations are just a dream. It doesn’t take much to make a little kid in need happy: it’s all about love, care, and attention. “We often say that our parties are so much more than a celebration...they are a loud exclamation point that children matter,” says Paige who is determined to make even more kids happier together with her amazing team.
Do you think we need more volunteers to follow Paige’s example? Do you know people who would go the extra mile to help those in need? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments!