Posted by ellynd
My daughter and her good friend have a lot in common. They share their long brown hair, their love of soccer, their energetic spirits, their love of the “The Biggest Loser” TV show and the same birthday month.
The girls have been friends since before they were 2 years old and for the past 3 years, they’ve planned their joint birthday parties together. For their ninth birthday, they decided they didn’t need a lot of gifts but they had a long list of friends they wanted to include in their celebration. Enter Echoage, a relatively new organization that helps parents plan birthday parties that are good for the environment and give back at the same time. The online invite suggest a donation instead of a gift. Guests choose the amount they want to give and the girls get 50% of the total. The other half is donated to a charity that the girls select from the list of charities tied to Echoage. They chose Nourish America, an organization that feeds hungry children and through their selflessness, the organization received over $300.
Planning for their February birthdays typically starts months in advance. After much discussion, the girls decided on a biggest birthday challenge, adapted from their favorite show “The Biggest Loser“. As guests arrived at the party, they were randomly assigned a team color and given their team t-shirt (designed by the two girls). They next learned the rules and were on to the first challenge, a basketball shoot-out. Following the shoot-out, the girls had an endurance challenge and a relay race. In the true spirit of “The Biggest Loser”, the girls asked their guests to bring cans of food instead of gifts. All of the guests had a ton of fun and left with their prizes–a pack of Extra Sugar Free gum–the official gum of “The Biggest Loser.”
Today, my friend Stacy (the other mom) and I took the girls to Gleaners Food Bank to deliver the food. We had a short tour of the facility while they weighed our donation. It was a great moment watching the girls learn they had donated 124 pounds of food–the equivalent of 124 meals. We can only imagine what they’ll pull out of their sleeves for next year.