Birthday boxes for PACH kids still strong after seven years

Katie Sergi and Nathan Landino. Picture by Melanie Landino
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PEPPERELL – All children love to celebrate that very special day each year – their birthday.

Many times, it’s with a party and lots of presents. But not all children are able to celebrate for various reasons. Unfortunately, one of which is the cost of having a party.

However, one Pepperell teenage girl started a project which became a mission in life for several families.

In 2013, Olivia Sergi was asked by her high school teacher to create a project that would impact the community in some way. Once Olivia began thinking about it, she recalled someone she knew who had never had the thrill of a birthday party as a child. That had a profound effect on Olivia who had many parties to count the passing years. How terrible it must have been for that child not to have had a birthday party. Olivia wanted all local children to enjoy their day with a special celebration.

So, Olivia along with her friend, Abbey Morelli created the organization, Birthday Boxes. Olivia and Abbey contacted PACH (Pepperell Aid from Community to Home) to make the project come true. The Birthday Boxes gets info about the eligible children from PACH, such as the birth date, gender, and age of the child but no names. A list is made and forwarded to Birthday Boxes monthly. Annually there are usually around 35 local children who receive this special birthday box.

When a child’s special day is approaching, a box is beautifully wrapped and filled with birthday party essentials such as plates, cups, napkins, utensils, tablecloths, candles, balloons, streamers, party hats, noisemakers, invitations, birthday banner, decorations, a game or activity, and an age appropriate present. A gift certificate for Hannaford’s’ Supermarket is added to purchase a cake. Most of the supplies are purchased at various stores on sale and some donated by family and friends and the public who would like to help.

There have been many people helping with this endeavor. Time passed and soon the girls graduated from Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsboro. They went off to college, but their love of the project continued with Olivia’s neighbor Nicole Landino. She took over the project for a few years until she went off to college. Then her younger sister Kayla Landino took over the project along with younger brother Nathan and Olivia’s younger sister Katie Sergi. They still continue with the project.

How can they afford this project you must be wondering? Occasionally, their own money is used. Nathan asked for donations for the project in lieu of birthday presents for his 10th birthday. He believed it was better to give than to receive; a lesson that will always remain in his heart. Fundraisers are held and many friends and relatives donate cash and supplies for the boxes.

Those who are interested in helping Birthday Boxes can donate cash or a gift certificate for Hannaford’s Supermarket to purchase a cake. Donations can be dropped off at PACH labeled Birthday Boxes. A simple gesture will help make a child’s birthday special and warm your own heart. For more information or to donate: bdayboxes@gmail.com