Megs Yunn wants to glitter-bomb the ‘burgh.
In 2011, Yunn met a girl named Beverly who said she had never received a gift or a cake commemorating her arrival in this world. That simple conversation sparked an idea that has spread joy to more than 30,000 kids.
“I remember it felt like someone knocked the wind out of me,” Yunn says of her chance encounter with Beverly. “I came home that night and told my husband I need to do something about this — if there are children out there that aren’t being celebrated on their birthday, this isn’t fair.”
The 33-year-old Irwin resident is the founder of Beverly’s Birthdays, a local nonprofit that provides birthday cheer to homeless children and families in need.
The organization, one of only eight nationwide that focuses on birthday recognition for underprivileged people, partners with 65 social service agencies and 68 low-income schools throughout the region. Between 15 and 17 group parties are held each month at the group’s North Huntingdon headquarters. But on average, 50 birthdays are celebrated each day thanks to a team of more than 100 committed volunteers.
On April 19, Beverly’s Birthdays will hold its largest fundraiser, An Evening of Birthday Cheer, at PNC Park. The adults-only event is a chance for guests to enjoy an evening of food, fun, entertainment and learn more about the organization’s mission.
The ne wBirthday Boutique
From birthday bins filled with age-appropriate gifts and pre-assembled bags packed with party supplies, to classroom celebrations and baby items delivered to new parents, Beverly’s Birthdays is more than just balloons.
Its latest project is the Birthday Boutique, which Yunn hopes to launch this summer.
Knowing that transportation is a barrier for foster youth and families living in poverty, this rolling closet will bring the store to them. The mobile fashion truck will be outfitted with new/never worn clothing, jewelry and accessories and will accompany the team to celebrations at homeless shelters, family support centers, residential treatment facilities and group homes.
Beverly’s Birthdays also will partner with youth workforce development programs to provide folks with clothes appropriate for job interviews.
Yunn vividly recalls one of her own childhood birthday cakes, which featured a Barbie doll in the center surrounded by a gown made of icing and sprinkles. She wants all children to have those same kinds of memories, and she’s happy that she’s able to make birthday wishes come true.
“Depending on the agency we are serving, our interactions with the families can be one time, or we can have an ongoing relationship with them,” she says.
“We provided one family with birthday services for over two years for all three of the children. We got to know the family well and we were invited to attend the mom’s college graduation. When she got her own place after leaving the shelter, she invited us to her daughter’s third birthday party that she was able to host. It was a true testament to the impact we have on these families.”
Beverly, it should be noted, is aware of her namesake organization and is happy her birth — which was met without fanfare for too long — has inspired so many celebrations.