Youre staring at all the toys in the house thinking, theres a birthday party right around the cornerwhere on earth am I going to put even more toys?

Its a scene many parents can identify with.

Thats why Kelsi and Myke Badry decided to do things a little differently this year for their sons birthday party.

“I was looking for ways the family could help our community. When I saw the Christmas Bureau’s image of a child with an empty plate in front of them it really hit home. I couldn’t imagine my son not having any food to eat, especially during the holidays. This led us to decide that, rather than accepting birthday gifts, which would likely meet the same fate as last year’s gifts (forgotten in the toy box), we would ask for donations on behalf of the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton,” shared Kelsi.

It was win-win-win; Kelsi and Myke could avoid the unnecessary clutter that comes with more toys, theyre teaching their son about giving back to his community, and theyre making an impact on families in need at Christmas.

“As a mom myself, I couldn’t imagine if my son wasn’t able to have a Christmas dinner. Having food year-round is obviously important, but there’s just something extra-special about that time you share together around the table at Christmas.”

The plan was simple. First, they would include a note in the digital invitation that, instead of toys, donations would be accepted on behalf of the Christmas Bureau. She also included a link to the charitys website should any invitees not be familiar with the organization.

On the day of the party, they prepared a table which included a donation box as well as printouts explaining more about the Christmas Bureau. The reception to the fundraiser was even better than Kelsi and Myke could have hoped, with a total of $300 being raisedenough to help three families.

Lastly, they got the kids involved! Kids in attendance got to decorate their own platesinstead of a traditional goodie bag the kids got to take the reusable plate home with them. Each plate was full of goodies and included a message thanking them for filling someone elses plate.” And, of course, the birthday boy got a framed picture from his party of him making memories with his friends.

“The parents were actually a little relieved. Some families are really organized and have a gift ready to go the week before the party. But, if you’re anything like me, your schedule can easily get away from you and you find yourself shopping late the night before or the day of the party. This was so much easier for them because it took away the stress of having to find that perfect gift. Toys can also be expensive. This allowed people to contribute whatever amount they were able to. We’ll definitely be continuing this tradition!”

If Kelsi’s story has inspired you to organize your own fundraiser, visit our fundraising section to learn more about how to get started.

*This story originally appeared in the November/December 2016 issue of Edmonton’s Child Magazine.

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