Local girls creating bithday boxes for CASA children
Being in the foster system isn’t easy for kids, but a group of local girls are trying to help by creating birthday boxes to bring some cheer.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints held its annual summer girls camp, where teens participate in a humanitarian project. This year, the camp decided to create birthday boxes filled with birthday treats such as cake mix and frosting, blankets, toys, jewelry, toiletries and more. The boxes were separated by age and gender.
“Each one is different and filled with fun gifts and made with love,” said Kim Ponczoch, one of the leaders of the camp. “…at girls camp the girls decorated the inside and outside of the boxes, making them fun to open.”
Ponczoch only had about $150 for supplies and estimated they would only be able to create about 50 boxes, but the girls and Ponczoch’s family made 115 boxes to be distributed with items donated from surrounding congregations and local businesses. More than 100 girls helped decorate and fill the boxes, which where then given to CASA to hand out to foster children in Carson City.
“Hopefully the children that receive these boxes feel that they are loved, and even though they are not with their biological families, that there are people that love and care about them, and that God is looking out for them,” Ponczoch said. “I can’t imagine being in their situation, especially on a day as special as a birthday. Hopefully they receive a bit of happiness.”
Ponczoch said it took hundreds of hours of collecting donations, putting them in boxes and decorating them.
And to the foster kids, receiving a present on their birthday can make a world of difference.
“When you’re in foster care, you have lots of disappointments in life and it can be hard to find happiness when the adults around you are making poor choices,” said Aria Beitler-Williams.
Beitler-Williams knows it all too well. Herself and her three siblings spent eight years in the foster system.
She decided to give back by helping as one of the adult leaders for the girls camp, creating the boxes.
“Because I was in the system, I thought it would be good to be a part of,” Beitler-Williams said. “I have always wanted to make a difference in the lives of foster kids because I know what it was like so it was an awesome opportunity to give back.”
Beitler-Williams said she could remember countless holidays where her family didn’t get presents except one year for Christmas where strangers in the community came together and donated presents for the kids to have under the tree.
“I was about 10 and it was the morning of Christmas and there were more presents under the tree than we have ever had,” Beitler-Williams said. “We were so touched that people wanted to donate to us.”
Because to some kids, a present doesn’t always mean much, but to foster kids it can provide a sense of normalcy, even for a bit.
“You can finally experience childhood and feel what other kids feel and be able to have those normal memories,” Beitler-Williams said. “You get to be like the other kids because you can finally bring presents to school and show them off too.”
For more information on CASA visit http://casaofcc.org/.