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Giving Birthdays aims to help celebrate 175 birthdays for kids in county care

The initiative started in 2021 in Sandusky County, and has expanded into Wood County for 2022.

FREMONT, Ohio — A nonprofit that makes sure foster kids in Sandusky County can celebrate their birthday has grown to now include a nearby county as well.

Andrea Gibson started the Giving Birthdays initiative last year in Sandusky County.

In total, it helped bring a proper birthday celebration to 53 children in the county's care.

Andrea says it's an important service to offer, as many children in foster care didn't get to celebrate birthdays consistently, or at all. 

"Let them know that they are worthy of a celebration. A lot of them don't celebrate their birthdays before they go into care. So we want to make sure that they know that they are special, and that they deserve the celebration." Gibson said.

The program was so successful that Sandusky County has now partnered with Wood County.

To date in 2022, the program has already celebrated 49 birthdays between the two counties.

"They are opening them before it's even their birthday, it's more of the little kids, they can't hold back. So they're getting into right away, and they have to pull everything out, show you what they got, try it on if there's an outfit." said Jackie Hamann, parent specialist with Sandusky County Jobs and Family Services

Credit: Jon Monk
Giving Birthdays helped celebrate 53 birthdays in 2021, and hope to celebrate up to 175 in 2022

In April, the Birchard Public Library in Fremont will host a gift collection for Giving Birthdays to make sure they have enough presents to go around. As the program grows, it will continue to need the charity of others to fulfill its mission.

"Birchard Public Library here in Fremont is going to be doing a toy drive. That is from April 8 through the 24. So, if anyone would like to drop off some toys or essential donations for ages 1 through 21, they can do so during those times." said Gibson

"I think every county could benefit from this, because all counties have children that are in need, unfortunately." Hamann said.

Andrea's office is currently working on getting everything ready for May birthdays. 

And if you know of a child who could benefit from this program in either Wood or Sandusky counties, you're asked to reach out to your county's children services office.

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