As any fourth grader can tell you, the most important date on the calendar is the birthday.
For families who rely on local food pantries, celebrating can strain the food budget. Jefferson's 4B and 4K classes come to the rescue with birthday bags, an age-appropriate community service project that begins in December and finishes in January with a day of service that marks Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Fourth-grade students will gather donated, leftover party supplies, including candles, napkins, cake mixes, decorations, favors and the like, from December until mid-January.
Students and adults in the Jefferson community can deliver items to Deborah Bialer’s or Anna Kasbo’s classroom and/or drop items in a designated box outside the school office. There is also a donation box in the South Orange Middle School library.
Once items have been gathered, students will inventory and sort donations. Working in pairs, with adult guidance, they will group items by age/interest and decorate and label a donated shopping bag appropriately.
"The fourth grade needs help," said Charlie, of class 4B. "We are collecting leftover party supplies for this project. If you don't have any and you want to help, we need cake mix and icing, too."
A local Girl Scout troop crafted birthday bags for a number of years, winning a "For Good" award in 2010.