Cullman Electric Cooperative building ‘birthday boxes’ for local children

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The Cullman Electric Cooperative is partnering with Cullman County DHR to provide “birthday boxes” to local children in foster care. (Cullman Electric Cooperative)

CULLMAN, Ala. – TheCullman Electric Cooperative (CEC) is teaming up with the Cullman County Department of Human Resources (DHR) to provide “birthday boxes” to as many foster children and children in care as possible through the Birthday Box Summer Giveback Program.

From Cullman County DHR Director Amy Smith, the CEC found that, on average, Cullman County has around 160 children in foster care at any given moment.

“A key part of what cooperatives do is give back to the communities they serve,” said CEC Manager of Communications and Marketing Lindsey Dossey. “We saw this idea online and contacted our local DHR to see if they had anyone providing these for local foster kids. Once we discovered that there wasn’t anyone doing this for our local foster kids, we decided that we wanted to work with our community to provide a birthday celebration for the foster kids of Cullman County.”

According to research done by The Pew Charitable Trusts, on average, children in foster care system will spend at least two birthdays in care and many children in foster care are removed from homes that lack normal life experiences, even simple experiences such as birthday celebrations.

“When we talked about the thought of a child not having their birth celebrated, it broke our hearts and we wanted to help make sure all children got a celebration of the day they were born,” smiled Dossey. “So we’re making 160 birthday boxes so that each one can have one.”

The birthday boxes are essentially a celebration in a box. Each box is packed full of the necessary ingredients for a party – cake, plates, banner and all. Each contains the following items packed inside a disposable baking pan:

  • A yellow or white cake mix
  • A tub of icing
  • Candles
  • 1 can of Sprite (nonperishable substitute for egg and oil)
  • Sprinkles
  • A Happy Birthday banner
  • Pack of disposable birthday plates
  • Pack of plastic forks
  • Birthday card
  • Pack of birthday napkins

Anyone who wishes to help the CEC fill and donate boxes can donate entire boxes, box contents or cash. Dossey said donations of any kind are appreciated; any excess cash donations will be used to purchase gift cards for the children to accompany the birthday boxes, allowing a small bit of autonomy on a significant day.

Donations for CEC’s Birthday Box Summer Giveback will be accepted until Aug. 23, and can be made at either CEC location or by signing up at https://tinyurl.com/BBCEC24.

The CEC is located at 1749 Eva Road NE. Its Addison office is located at 31132 U.S.Highway 278. The main branch’s hours are Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and the office in Addison is open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.

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