A new program seeks to bring a bit of joy into the lives of underprivileged youngsters in the Lakeview area, spearheaded by resident Daphne Greer.
The ‘Birthday in a Box’ program stemmed from the non-profit Lydia’s Love program, established in memory of the late daughters of founders Jamie Ralls and Greer, which coordinates monthly birthday parties for children in homeless shelters in the Willamette Valley.
Once she and husband Jake, who is the director of the Lake County Community Justice program relocated to Lakeview, a new opportunity was sought in absence of any local shelters.
Through the program, a birthday cake, decorations, napkins, plates, gifts, balloons and goody bags for guests are all part of the celebratory package, Greer said. Applications for the program are available at Klamath Family Head Start’s Lakeview, located at 627 S. F St. The program is being coordinated with the Head Start program as well as the Early Learning Council program for determining eligible children, Greer said.
“It’s kind of a work in progress,” she said, noting that the first party was hosted on Saturday, May 31, celebrating 5-year-old Dylan Timberlake’s birthday.
The Greers covertly delivered supplies for the youngster’s surprise birthday, which was celebrated on Sunday, June 1, at McDonald Park.
Included in the inventory was a Batman cake donated by Aimee Kintzley and a shiny new bicycle.
“I think (the program) is awesome, because I really can’t afford to throw him a party,” said Dylan’s mother, Karol Green. Her 7-year-old son, Robert, has a birthday coming up in November. “I’m just incredibly thankful.”
Recognizing the success of the Lydia’s Love parties, Greer said that the concept was adapted to meet the needs of a smaller community without a homeless shelter facility.
“We personalize it towards (the kids) as much as possible,” she said, “toward their wishes, and wants and needs.”
Greer said the program is starting in Lakeview, but as demand allows will expand to encompass the other communities of the county.
Volunteers and donations of supplies are sought, as well, with wrapping paper, cake bakers and gift donations welcomed for the program, Greer said.
Another program, known as ‘Connor’s Chance,’ helps kids pay for sports, equipment, instruments and other costs related to extracurricular activities as needed.
Additional details can be found online at www.lydiaslove.org, as well as on Facebook. For more information on how to become involved, contact Daphne Greer at 503-602-0096.