One woman in Texas is making sure kids in homeless shelters get to experience birthday magic, too.
Paige Chenault, while pregnant with her daughter, couldn't wait to plan birthday parties for her little girl. But when she glimpsed a photo of a visibly malnourished child in Haiti, her perspective changed.
"It just sort of hit me. This kid will never feel celebrated like I could celebrate my daughter," Chenault tells Today. "I could do a lot of things for my kid, but I want to do it in a greater way with a bigger purpose."
Chenault started in Dallas with the goal of celebrating the birthday of every homeless child in Texas. The Birthday Party Project has since expanded to Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
In fact, in 2015, The Birthday Party Project will celebrate with 180 parties. Complete with decorations, games, birthday cake and other goodies, the parties also feature volunteers, or "birthday enthusiasts," who cheer kids on and sing "Happy Birthday," an experience they might not have had before.
"A lot of these children don't know how to blow out a candle or even make a wish," Chenault, an event planner, tells Today.
When the nonprofit organization arrives at a shelter, they celebrate every child who has a birthday during that month. Each of the birthday kids receives a party hat, badge, an individual birthday cake and his or her own present.
"My goal is that each child feels something that lets them know how important they are, how much they matter," Chenault tells the news outlet. "They deserve to be celebrated."