October 31st, 2016 | Birthdays, Events, Funding, Giving, Kids, Upcoming Event

Give to the Max Day 2016, a celebration of generosity in Minnesota, is coming up on Thursday, Nov. 17. Throughout the day, you can donate to further the cause of Cheerful Givers: To help make birthdays special for children facing poverty and homelessness.

Give the Max Day Cheerful Givers

One of the hundreds of thousands of birthday bags we’ve assembled.

On Nov. 17, visit our Give to the Max Day page to help us assemble birthday bags to distribute in shelters throughout the Twin Cities area. Donating just $2 will provide crayons and a coloring book for a child on their birthday. Each gift of $10 will provide an entire gift bag for one child. $18 will put Happy Birthday pencils in 144 gift bags, and $120 will provide a birthday bag to one child each month for a whole year.

Want to help us fundraise even more? Click on the share buttons below to spread the word via Facebook, Twitter and email.

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October 27th, 2016 | Giving, Volunteers

Thanks to our wonderful summer interns, our website redesign is off to a great start! Stay tuned for a beautiful new Cheerful Givers website in the coming months. We wanted to pay a special tribute to these interns, college students who used their creativity and skills to help Cheerful Givers better tell our story.

Hayley McNab is currently enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Art in Illustration. Hayley created several great animated gift cards for our website. Hayley was given a range of children’s age groups. Then she researched trends and came up with so many options that it was hard to choose which ones we wanted to have animated.

These cards are great for kids and adults—you’ll be able to email these very creative cards to the people you care about. Please check out her work on her website. If you need animated cards, Hayley will get the job done.

“I always had a love for greeting cards ever since I first starting drawing as a kid. The idea of bringing others happiness through the gift of art enchanted me greatly. Ever since, it’s been my childhood dream. Helping others has always been a big goal for me, and Cheerful Givers’ internship gave me the chance to lend a hand through animated art. I enjoyed learning so many new skills from this position over the summer, including animation, programming and professional presentation. Having freedom in creating characters for the cards was also great! It was encouraging to be able to experiment in different styles and personalities through each individual card.”

Thank you, Hayley!

To learn more about volunteering for Cheerful Givers, visit our Get Involved page.

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October 21st, 2016 | Children, Donations, Giving, Volunteers

There are so many ways to get involved in Cheerful Givers. Here’s a peak at how volunteers and donors of all ages have helped us provide birthday gifts for more than 1 million children.

 

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October 21st, 2016 | Giving, Volunteers

Thanks to our wonderful interns, our website redesign is off to a great start! Stay tuned for a beautiful new Cheerful Givers website in the coming months.

We wanted to pay a special tribute to these interns, college students who used their creativity and skills to develop greeting cards, make animated birthday cards, create a birthday-themed comic book, make new videos and even compose original music for our videos.

Up first is Jaclyn Erdman, currently enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Art in Illustration. Jaclyn created a variety of birthday cards, thank-you cards, postcards and bumper stickers with her unique print and design style, all while capturing the cheerful look we were needed. Jaclyn is a great to work with, self-motivated and works very and efficiently. She even offered to volunteer at the warehouse! Check out her website and contact her for design inquiries.

Cheerful Givers card

“I wanted to intern with Cheerful Givers because it involved helping children in need while being able to gain more experience designing a variety of cards, coloring pages, post cards, stickers and animated GIFs for the organization. I really enjoyed learning about the nonprofit while having the creative freedom to design everything, as well as getting to know Robin while working at the warehouse. It was refreshing to meet someone who is passionate about making other people happy and who believes all kids deserve happy birthdays. To be a part of the creative team was such an honor!”

Thank you, Jaclyn!

To learn more about volunteering for Cheerful Givers, visit our Get Involved page.

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October 12th, 2016 | Donations, Giving

In late September, we spent a great day with the Cheerful Givers from Henry Schein Dental. Thanks to Regional Administrative Assistant Jillian Otternes, Cheerful Givers was invited to attend Henry Schein Dental’s annual Fall Festival, during which the company provided educational seminars and showcased the latest dental technologies.

This year, the planning committee decided to add a charitable component to the Fall Festival and invited vendors to make gift baskets for a raffle. All proceeds were given to Cheerful Givers’ Birthday Bag program. We’d like to say a special thank you to the six representatives and their companies who donated gift basket worth approximately $100.

  • John Angell, Sterisil: Minnesota Treats basket won by Steve Bejarano
  • Allison Bayless, VOCO: Date Night basket (Osaki and Movie gift cards) won by Stacy Christ
  • Rob Berg, Digital Doc: Hickory Farms basket won by Don Johnson
  • Carly Carlson, AKT: Wine Picnic basket won by Sean Parnell
  • Ayla Recel, Dexis: Vikings-themed cooler won by Jeff Erickson and given to our volunteer Jaelyn Martinez
  • Kate Tousignant, 3M: World Market basket won by Anette Boe

With tremendous energy and enthusiasm from Regional Manager Elizabeth Sullivan and her staff, Henry Schein Dental helped Cheerful Givers raise $664 from raffle ticket sales and donations. That means 66 more children will receive a HAPPY birthday gift, which will include a toothbrush, thanks to Heidi Briggs from Colgate.

We’d also like to thank Elizabeth, Jillian, Lizette and Jaelyn for their help in motivating participants to purchase raffle tickets

Finally, Henry Schein Dental and all your great attendees and vendors, thank you so much for being Cheerful Givers and for making HAPPY birthdays happen for children living in poverty.

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August 17th, 2016 | Giving, News

For the past three years, 8-year-old Lesa and 5-year-old Dia Carlson from New Brighton have donated all but three of their birthday gifts to children facing homelessness and poverty. It all started when Lesa was in preschool. As she made more friends and her birthday parties grew bigger, her parents felt that all the gifts from her friends, alongside gifts from family, were a lot for one child, and encouraged Lesa to share the gifts with other children in need.

After experimenting with donating to different children’s causes, the Carlsons found Cheerful Givers. Now, after the girls’ birthdays, Lesa and Dia choose three gifts they receive to keep, and donate the rest to Cheerful Givers, which distributes the gifts to food pantries and shelters through the Twin Cities area.

Lesa and Dia Carlson donate to Cheerful Givers

Lesa and Dia Carlson

Lesa and Dia love being able to share their gifts with other kids. They keep the kids they’re donating to in mind when they’re picking out which if their gifts to keep, says Lariza, the girls’ mother. “In past years, they received art supplies along with gifts that might be more attractive to girls. Lesa and Dia will purposefully not pick the art gifts so that there are some ‘boy-friendly’ gifts in their stash to give to Cheerful Givers,” she says.

Thank you for being Outstanding Cheerful Givers, Lesa and Dia!

Are you interested in donating to Cheerful Givers? Please visit our Get Involved page!

 

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July 7th, 2016 | Book, Donations, Giving, News, Partners

We’re proud to announce a new partnership with Scholastic, which publishes children’s books and other educational materials. Thanks to Scholastic, Cheerful Givers is able to acquire books at a major discount. That means our gift bags now include high-quality, entertaining and educational books for children of all ages.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to include these books in our bags for children,” said Robin Zelaya, the founder and board chair of Cheerful Givers. “In addition to being educational, these books provide a bonding activity for parents and their children to enjoy together. In some cases, these books will be the first our little recipients will ever own, and we’re so happy to be able to provide that gift to them.”

Cheerful Givers book bag

A Cheerful Givers gift bag we put together with a book from Scholastic.

Later this year, Cheerful Givers will launch a corporate birthday bag program, which will allow corporations to choose which books they’d like included in the bags they help assemble. Stay tuned for more details!

For more information about forming a business partnership with Cheerful Givers, please visit our Give page.

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May 30th, 2016 | Birthdays, Giving, Kids

For Mallory Held’s eighth birthday, instead of receiving gifts from her friends, she wanted to find a way to help kids in need, who don’t get the chance to celebrate their birthdays with gifts every year.

“I wanted them to be happy and have a fun birthday too,” she said.

So Mallory and her mom Jamie did some research online, and discovered Cheerful Givers, which through the generous help of volunteers and donors, assembles birthday bags for children facing homelessness and poverty. Mallory decided to ask her friends to bring either items to place in bags, or donations to purchase these items.

Mallory and Jamie then donated the items to Cheerful Givers, which was able to assemble 12 birthday bags with the great gifts. We then dropped the bags off at a local food pantry, where parents can pick them up and give them to their kids on their birthdays.

Mallory, who also helps raise money for a school in Guatemala and participates in food drives, has told her Girl Scout troop leader about the Cheerful Givers experience, and hopes to assemble more bags with her troop soon.

Thank you, Mallory!

Are you interested in hosting a bag assembly party or donating to Cheerful Givers? Please visit our Get Involved page!

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May 26th, 2016 | Children, Donations, Giving, Kids, Schools

In April, a very special group of small volunteers from Happee Hollee’s Preschool & Childcare in St. Michael, Minnesota, helped give 17 children memorable birthdays.

Happee Hollee's Preschool & Childcare Donates to Cheerful Givers

The preschoolers at Hollee’s assembled birthday bags for children facing homelessness and poverty, and donated them to the Hanover Food Shelf. The bags, which included books, games and toys, will be distributed to the children’s parents at the shelter.

Thanks to the preschoolers who assembled the bags, the children will be able to celebrate their birthdays with a true birthday gift.

Thank you Happy Hollee’s Preschool!

If you’re interested in donating to our assembling gift bags for Cheerful Givers, please email Robin Steele at robin@cheerfulgivers.org.

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May 22nd, 2016 | Donations, Funding, Giving

Every year, Minneapolis radio station Cities 97 releases a benefit compilation album to raise money for local nonprofit organizations. This year, the station sold more than 30,000 copies of the Cities 97 Sampler album, and will donate $10,000 of the proceeds to Cheerful Givers.

Cities 97 Sampler

We’re so grateful to both Cities 97 and all of those who purchased an album for helping our cause! Thanks to this incredible donation, we’ll be able to provide memorable birthday gifts to children facing homelessness and poverty.

Thank you, Cities 97!

Visit the Cities 97 website to learn more about Cities 97 Sampler Volume 27.

For more information about donating to Cheerful Givers, please visit our Give page.

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