Birthday Bags Bring Joy in Minnesota

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For some people, celebrating a birthday may seem like a small thing. But it’s actually a big deal for children whose parents are doing all they can just to survive, said Linda Ribbens, a member of Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Edina, Minn.

So Ribbens helps coordinate her church’s involvement with Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP), a foundation that helps make a difference in the lives of families with low incomes.

VEAP runs a community food shelf where families can access food, household supplies, and financial assistance. Thanks to area churches like Calvary, children ages 1 to 12 can also receive a birthday bag complete with cake mix, frosting, age-appropriate gifts, and a party favor.

The birthday bag allows moms and dads to share the joy of being able to provide a small celebration for their child.

This summer, two children from Calvary CRC prepared birthday bags for the foundation. Fifth graders Lauren H. and Sophia M. enjoyed putting their unique touches on four “girl bags” and four “boy bags.”

While working, the girls talked about their own excitement on the night before their birthdays. Each knows “without a doubt” that presents and cake will be waiting for them in the morning.

Thinking about children who don’t get to enjoy those memories in their lives makes them sad, the girls said.

Sophia said, “I hope that the bags we made will make children who receive them very happy on their birthday!”

Approximately 150 children receive birthday bags each month. VEAP serves the Minneapolis suburbs of Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, and South Minneapolis.

About the Author

Jessica Oosterhouse is the Banner’s regional news correspondent for classes Lake Superior, Minnkota, and Wisconsin.