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Minnetonka youth make kids' birthdays happy

Tyler DuBois, left, and Nils Persson help load birthday bags.

Tyler DuBois, left, and Nils Persson help load birthday bags.

Confirmation students adopt unique service project

With increasing regularity, youth in Twin Cities area Lutheran congregations are including service projects in their learning programs. Eighth graders in the confirmation program at All Saints Lutheran Church, Minnetonka, Minnesota, decided to use a recent service project to say “Happy Birthday!” to a whole bunch of unfortunate children.
The young Lutherans at All Saints Church participated in a nine-year-old program called “Cheerful Givers.” Founded by a Zimmerman, Minnesota, woman, the effort provides “birthday bags” for parents of children who are staying in shelters or who rely on food shelves throughout Minnesota. The parents give the bags to their youngsters.
When they assembled birthday bags, the All Saints students collected all the materials needed, then held a “sacking session,” during which they put around $5 worth of gift items into each bag. Included were things like crayons, stickers, whistles, mini-Frisbees, fruit snacks, balls, pens, puzzles, and small stuffed animals. Each bag was tied with a colorful ribbon.
While church groups are a natural choice for assembling and donating birthday bags, Cheerful Givers president Karen Kitchel says corporations are providing a lot of support for the program. Twin Cities firms, including BI, Ecolab and Medtronic, now have “Cheerful Givers teams,” volunteers who gather from time to time to assemble birthday bags.
For more information, visit www.cheerfulgivers.org.