Back in March 2011, Megan Yun was working with a student in a youth program she managed as director of volunteer programs at a small university near Pittsburgh, when she found out Beverly, the 12-year-old girl, had never celebrated her own birthday or had birthday cake. It broke Yun’s heart that there were kids who had never had a birthday party, so she vowed to do something about it.
In February 2012, she left her job to start the non-profit Beverly’s Birthdays, named after the little girl who inspired her. The group’s mission is to work with local agencies to provide free birthday parties - complete with cakes, party favors, and even presents, for kids who are poor, homeless, or live in shelters. And as of last year, they’re throwing 120 group birthday parties a year in the metro Pittsburgh area for more than 2,000 children and guests.
Beverly’s Birthdays also works with food banks to offer families take-home “birthdays-in-a-bag” that contain cake mix, balloons, and candles, so they can celebrate as a family.
“We all have birthdays, and everyone should know that they are loved, cared for, that they’re noticed and special,” Yunn says. “Birthdays are joy and hope and smiles. It’s not about lavishness, it’s just about the notion that there are genuinely good people out there and we want to be able to support these families.”