TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Jennifer Dimostra has fostered roughly 40 children in Hillsborough County. What she didn’t realize when she started this journey 6 years ago is that many children in the system don’t know what it’s like to have a birthday party.
“For her gift, she got a cat toy,” Dimostra said about one of the children she fostered. “What was so surprising is that she was so excited to get this cat toy and it just broke my heart.”
Then she discovered a company called Celebrate Birthdays, Inc. in Tampa. She says it has changed their lives forever.
Belinda Leto is a co-founder of the company. It started when a family she helped with an Angel Tree gift for Christmas asked if there were similar programs to help with birthdays.
“Some of these kids that we serve have never ever experienced a birthday. An 11-year-old going into foster care just had her first birthday,” Leto said.
Celebrate Birthdays, Inc. provides parties for low-income families and children in foster care. The birthday in a box comes with everything you need including a present, book, decorations and even a cake!
“We provide everything that somebody would need to celebrate their birthday wherever they’re at in the community,” Leto said. “We go to birthday parties at 13 organizations in our community and we just recently started our classroom birthday bin program which has served over 4,000 students so far in Title I and low-income schools.”
Whether a Lego or princess themed party, the goal is to make sure these children all have happy birthdays.