FAQ

“I have signed up online to volunteer at a party. What happens next?”

Within 24 hours, your submission will be reviewed by a Regional Coordinator. They will email you back and include the name and email address of the Party Coordinator. The Party Coordinator will then email you with all party specifics and to answer any questions you may have. Please note, if you are signing up to volunteer at a party that is less than 48 hours away, the Coordinator may not have sufficient time to confirm your attendance. We ask that anyone interested in volunteering at a party submit their information at least 72 hours in advance of the party date.



“What kind of experience should I expect when I volunteer at a party?”

Every shelter has its own unique culture. Your Party Coordinator will be able to tell you exactly what to expect at your party. For the children living in shelters, Birthday Wishes parties are always a joyous occasion that allows them to feel special and honored. There is a lot of excitement, laughter, smiles and overall happiness!  Volunteers are expected to help set up, engage with the children and their parents, help serve cake and juice, play games, and clean up.



“I have signed up to donate birthday gifts for a child. What does this entail?”

Each birthday child should receive 3-4 brand new gifts in original, unopened packaging. Gifts should total between $30 and $40 per child, and include one bigger gift (doll, remote control car, action figures, Legos, etc.) and then a few smaller gifts (books, puzzles, games, matchbox cars, stuffed animal, etc.). Your Party Coordinator will also be able to tell you if the birthday child has requested something theme-specific (Spiderman, Disney Princess, Dora, etc).  Please note, all gifts MUST be individually wrapped in birthday themed paper and not simply put in gift bags with tissue.  The ceremonial opening of gifts is a wonderful part of every child's birthday!



“What is a typical party? How long will it last?”

A typical party lasts approximately 90 minutes and begins with a craft activity that lasts about 30 minutes followed by party games and music (optional). We then sing Happy Birthday and enjoy cake while the birthday children open gifts. At the end of the party all children receive goody bags. Volunteers are typically asked to arrive 10-15 minutes before the start of the party for set-up, and stay 10-15 minutes after the party for clean-up.



“What is a Birthday-in-a-Box?”

Our BIAB program is for safe shelters and other living facilities which cannot accommodate Birthday Wishes volunteers. Party supplies and gifts are carefully packaged within a wrapped birthday box for each birthday child, so they are able to celebrate their birthday with family and friends. All party supplies must be new, unused and in original packaging. Everything should be contained in a box (with cover) that has been wrapped in birthday-themed wrapping paper. For a complete list of Birthday Box items, please visit  BIAB Guidelines.



“How do I sign-up to volunteer at a party and donate items for the party?”

To donate an item to a party you simply sign up online on our Party Schedule page. Once you click the “Donate Item” link you will receive a confirmation email from the Regional Coordinator. If you donate an item to a party, the Party Coordinator will work with you to arrange to pick-up or drop-off the item before the party starts. In order to attend a party as a volunteer, you need to click the “Donate Volunteer” link. Many of our shelters are small and can only accommodate a limited number of people. Please note: The only way to volunteer at an actual party is to sign up for a “Donate Volunteer” space online.



“When I sign-up on online as a volunteer, is it okay to bring my children?”

Because the majority of our shelters are small and can accommodate only a limited number of people, we ask that you sign up separately for each individual within your group. Space permitting, we more than welcome children to help at our parties and find that children age 10 and over are best suited to help with crafts, games and clean-up.