16 hours. 150 people. 1,000 gifts.
Hope had planned on celebrating her 16th birthday at America’s Toy Wrap, where she and 60 of her friends and family could wrap toys for children in need together. When she wasn’t able to get all of her group in, she decided to host a wrap-a-thon of her own.
Hope’s family purchased 1,000 gifts for wrapping, and set about planning the event, which would include a waffle bar in the morning, Korean tacos, and ramen for dinner. From 8 am – midnight the Saturday after Thanksgiving, they welcomed people into their home in two-hour shifts to wrap toys and enjoy delicious food together.
We caught up with Hope and her mom, Esther, who helped organize the event, to hear their story.
How were you initially introduced to CHF?
We started volunteering at CHF through our former church, Immanuel Bible Church, when Hope was just in elementary school.
How did you come up with the idea for the party?
Our family has been participating in the Toy Wrap for many years. During last year’s event, Hope and I thought it would be fun to bring all her friends to the warehouse for her Sweet 16. We realized that Hope’s party of 60+ friends would be difficult to accommodate so the idea evolved into holding a 16-hour wrap-a-thon at our home. We also wanted to give ourselves a goal of wrapping 1,000 gifts to donate to CHF. Our family loves hosting and feeding friends, so we organized a sign up for friends to come in 2-hour shifts to wrap, eat, and hang out.
Where did the toys come from?
When trying to decide what to wrap, Hope and I looked through the CHF website and came across a section that said, “Just a few simple learning tools like paper, pens, pencils and crayons can mean a brighter future for an underprivileged child.” We decided to purchase 500 notebooks and 500 boxes of crayons as our donation to CHF.
Was there anything surprising or unexpected that happened?
Friends were wrapping so quickly and efficiently that we had to put a limit to how many gifts they could wrap. We wanted to make sure we had enough for people coming later in the day. It was a good problem!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to do something similar?
Get together with family and friends and brainstorm ways in which you love to serve. The possibilities are limitless. Get as many people involved as possible. It does take a lot of planning and work, but it’s all well worth it.
Hope: The whole day turned out way better than I imagined. Having the party at home was fun because so many friends were able to come hang out while they participated in our own toy wrap.
We are inspired by the ways individuals like Hope are taking action to face poverty together! If you want to join the movement, check out more ways to get involved here.