Sunday, January 10, 2016

What can we give kids that have "everything?"

We all know boys and girls who have everything they want. Many feel entitled to the best, with no concern for those less fortunate. Amy and John Cervantes of Matthews, NC, have three sons whose birthday parties were a big deal until 2005, when they got even better. That's when Amy founded Bright Blessings, where she and her boys, assisted by many volunteers, give birthday parties for homeless children struggling with abuse or poverty. Youth groups from several churches and students from school classrooms, plus many adult volunteers, donate countless hours preparing the parties, and Cervantes' sons now understand the best gifts are the ones we give -- a lifetime lesson.

The parties that Bright Blessings hosts at homeless shelters are only fleeting moments, but they let poor children feel like regular kids, at least for an hour. "The kids light up when we're unloading the gifts," said Cervantes' son Alex, who helps at the events. "When they hear the birthday song, their faces light up." But Amy Cervantes feels homeless children give her the greatest gift, the gift of juvenile gratitude. She remembers a 9-year-old girl giggling as she quickly unwrapped her birthday presents, and then putting them back in their bags and boxes and returning them to Cervantes. The little girl never expected to keep the presents, and why not? "She'd never received a gift," Cervantes said. "I had to turn away because I was going to cry." If you'd like to support Bright Blessings, visit

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