My name is Sonika Menon and I am the Founder and CEO of The Birthday Giving Program, a 501c3 non-profit organization established in May 2017. Rinna Talwar is the founder of the Senior Citizen division which expands our service to those in their golden years.
The Birthday Giving Program's mission is to provide birthday bags and celebrations to children, adults, senior citizens, and veterans affected by poverty, addiction, abuse, violence, physical/mental challenges, and old age.
In 2018, 38.1 million people in the United States were affected by poverty and of this total, 11.9 million were children (Source: https://www.povertyusa.org/facts). The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, yet has one of the highest poverty rates compared to most other developed countries (Source: https://www.confrontingpoverty.org/). Our program confronts these harsh statistics by celebrating each and every individual, one birthday at a time.
Our organization has brought hope to thousands of people facing hardship in our communities. The underlying results of low self-esteem caused by poverty, domestic violence, and other challenges are depression, anxiety, poor school performance, and unemployment. Our volunteer work is extraordinary because it addresses a key aspect that underlies every aspect of life: self-worth. Our program treats everyone it serves with dignity and humanity by honoring those who are not being celebrated on their birthdays!
To date, there are 36 nationwide chapters (26 established, 10 in progress) of the program serving over 50 organizations and thousands of people facing adversity in their lives. The organizations (homeless shelters, food pantries, churches, nursing homes, hospitals, and other social service facilities) that we serve do not have the funds in their operating budgets to celebrate birthdays. Can you imagine being a child or an adult and not being able to celebrate your birthday? The Birthday Giving Program successfully fills this void in the community.
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