A number of years ago Lauren Swartz, an elementary school teacher, mother, and wife, had an idea to create and donate what she calls "Birthday Boxes" to families who could not afford to celebrate their children’s birthdays in a big way. Lauren sought out Opportunity House where she was able to get in contact with one of our hard working Team members, Kathy. After brainstorming the idea a little more, Lauren held a Birthday Box Party where she invited friends and family over to help stuff boxes full of snacks, decorations, and small gifts for the children on their birthdays.
"I like being hands-on and I like donating items to children." Lauren said as she described what it took to create such an incredible gift for the youngsters living at the shelter.
Shortly after donating the Birthday Boxes, Opportunity House got another call from Lauren with ideas to donate Bedtime Bags. This time Lauren reached out to her mother who makes blankets and asked if she would be willing to donate her talent and time. The Swartz family (Lauren, her husband, mother, and children) worked together to assemble bags full of hand-made blankets, soap, bedtime books, and stuffed animals.
In talking about her children’s involvement in the creation of the Bedtime Bags Swartz mentions, "My kids are also very involved in the donating process. Every month or so they pick a few stuffed animals and books to donate of their own."
Lauren’s most recent gesture of giving came in the form of Easter Baskets. Lauren held a fundraiser in which she sold Thirty-One bags that were used as Easter baskets for the children at Opportunity House. Each basket was then filled with goodies purchased with money made at the fundraiser.
The Swartz family has worked so hard to provide for the children at Opportunity House. Their unending generosity, creative ideas, and community-oriented work ethic has helped Opportunity House provide for the children and families living in our shelter. The Swartz family is a fantastic example of what it means to help better our community and do our part. The Opportunity House is incredibly grateful for their generosity and giving.