Everyone loves a party, but we don’t always want our guests to bring us a gift. As Emily Post wrote, “Although it seems odd that there is a “prohibition” against asking people not to bring you gifts when all you are trying to do is be thoughtful, there is a reason. The moment you mention gifts, you put an emphasis on gifts, which is the opposite of your intent”. Okay, so we can’t say “no gifts, please” and we know that people will bring them anyway even if we ask them not too. So, what to do? Two East Bay moms saw a need and started their own non-profit organization to solve this problem while supporting the local community. Founders, Melissa Smith and Shani Hall, started Party In-Kindness because they knew a small act of kindness can make a big impact.
These two smart and generous women developed their company at a play date. After Melissa’s daughter underwent surgery at only 6-days old, she was surrounded by love and support of friends, family and strangers. Melissa was so touched by the power of compassion that she knew she had to find a way to give back to the community that had given so much to her. So, while their kids played, Shani and Melissa created Party In-Kindness.
How does it work you might ask? First the host decides which charity or cause they would like to help. Party In-Kindness then contacts the charity and finds out what their needs are. Then they provide the host with some creative ideas for providing the in-kind donations as well as ways to communicate this information to the party guests. For example, for a 5-year-old’s birthday party guests were asked to bring a “birthday party in a box”, which included paper goods, cake mix, frosting, candles and party hats. These themed boxes were then distributed to low-income children at the Monument Crisis Center that may have otherwise not had a party of their own.
Party In-Kindness (www.partyin-kindness.org) serves the East Bay and has many connections to charities in the area. The Bay Area Crisis Nursery, Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Foster A Dream and the Shelter, Inc. are just a few of the organizations that have benefited from local parties.
So for your next book club meeting, kid’s birthday, or anniversary party think about how you and your guests can celebrate together while being charitable at the same time. You’ll feel good about yourself, teach your children a valuable lesson, and can offer a way to have your friends and family lend a hand to a cause you believe in. With this sort of party everyone wins.