Every once in a while a story comes along that makes you believe that good really does still exist in the world and humanity is, in fact, not lost.
Bella Smith, a 9-year-old girl from London, KY, is making a difference in the lives of her classmates, one birthday box at a time. She started the project, “Bella’s Boxes,” at the ripe old age of 7. Sev-en. I don’t know about you, but most of the 7-year-olds I know are obsessed with farts and SpongeBob Squarepants. The idea was born when a fellow grade one classmate told her that his family couldn’t afford a birthday party for him. Her mother, Marlana Evans, tells the Lexington Herald Leader:
She was talking to a little boy in her class about her birthday … and he told her that he didn’t have a birthday. His family couldn’t afford that so he had never had a birthday party or a cake or any kind of celebration.
Bella attends Wyan-Pine Grove Elementary School, which is classified as a title 1 school, with 80 percent of the students coming from low-income families.
“I just kind of felt down. I went from happy just to kind of miserable,” Bella tells Lex18 News.
So she decided to do something about it. With the help of her mother, who also happens to be a teacher at the Wyan-Pine Grove school, Bella began building birthday boxes. She fills them with everything needed for a party – balloons, party hats, candles, cake mix, icing and sprinkles. The supplies are bought by the family and also donated by community members. Once the boxes are packed, she hands them out to families in need through her school’s Family Resource Center, homeless shelters, and a local women’s shelter.
Now in 3rd grade, Bella continues leading with her heart. For the past two years on her birthday, she has requested donations to her cause in lieu of birthday presents.
Not all people have as much as I do. I want to share a little bit of my birthday with them.
So far this school year, she has donated over 80 boxes.
While some may say she is an angel among us, Bella believes it’s all just about shining your light and loving your neighbor. And she hopes others will start doing the same. She says:
It don’t matter if it’s here in London. It don’t matter if it’s in Alaska. It don’t matter. It don’t matter where you are. And you can help out whether you’re 2, 4, 8, or 102.
Preach it, sista! Seriously, I love this kid.
Her mission in sharing her story is to “spark others to find a project that they are interested in and jump in with ways to help out that situation. Small things can make big differences.” And in this case, so can small people.
If you are interested in making a donation, you can contact Bella’s Birthday Boxes through their Facebook page. They posted the following:
At the current moment, we are not taking cash donations. We will gladly accept any donations of birthday items and will work hard to find them a good home at a school, homeless shelter, food pantry, etc. If you’d like an address to mail donations to, please PM me and I will send it to you.
If it isn’t feasible to send items, please use Bella’s spark to light up your own projects in your community. Knowing that others are doing similar kind things in other communities makes her just as happy as donating boxes herself.
Everyone deserves to be celebrated on their birthday. To feel special, to be surrounded by family and friends, and to eat cake. And one little girl is making it happen, one birthday box at a time.