Topeka Birthday Bags assist children

Topeka Birthday Bags partnered with Doorstep to create birthday bags to hand out to families in need. It will begin at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Nov. 4 at First Congregational Church. The birthday boxes at the event include donations collected from Oct. 1 to Nov. 4.

People can drop off the donations in the Art Building at Washburn beginning Oct. 1 and continuing until Oct. 12. One birthday bag supplies everything needed to throw a birthday party for up to six to eight children for a child that would otherwise not have a birthday party.

The event is being organized by Alexandria Henderson, a fine arts major at Washburn.

“I am asking people to bring in donations to put in the bag and a bag is a full birthday party for a child whose family go to Doorstep to get help,” said Henderson.

The items to donate include but are not limited to tablecloths, banners, party hats, balloons, invitations, crayons, board game, cake mix, sprinkles, applesauce, olive oil, frosting, juice boxes, fruit snacks, popcorn, cups and more. Applesauce can replace the egg in cake mix. The food must be nonperishable as these boxes could sit on the shelf for a while. After donating, people can pick up an “I Donated” sticker near the door. 

Doorstep is an organization in Topeka that helps the Topeka community survive crises, improve their way of life and become self-sufficient. Its programs and services include money for rent, food and clothing, transportation, utilities services and crisis intervention.

People don’t know the name and family information of the child they are donating to.

“I want to keep it private,” said Henderson. “I just want to make sure that they (the family) are comfortable, and they don’t have to be public.”

Henderson not only organized the Topeka Birthday Bags, but also put herself in the event by making donations.

“I, personally, have bought enough for almost three boxes full,” Henderson said.

The number of donations in the Art Building is growing. More people are getting involved in the event.

Yuxi Chen, a junior fine arts major, believes that the birthday bags are a good idea.

“It’s a good idea to donate for a child’s birthday party,” said Chen. “If the child feels happy about the small birthday bags, it’s worthy.”

The idea to help poverty through kids’ birthday is new to many people. When students walk by the donation place in the Art Building, the childlike decorations made by Henderson catch their eyes. 

“It’s shining a light on the situation [poverty], and I hope that people who want to help continue these things on,” Henderson said.

Stop by the Art Building to drop off donations. For more information or questions about the event, email [email protected]