With the help of her mom and dad, she came up with the idea to do something kind for the families who are staying at the nearby Ronald McDonald House. She learned about the organization and is happy to talk about exactly what makes it special.
"They really help families a lot. If there is a family member who is sick and has to be at the hospital, the Ronald McDonald House lets the family stay there. Especially if they don't have enough money to keep staying at a hotel. That way they can stay there and not have to worry."
Tess and her parents contacted RMH to find out how they could best be of service to the families there. They came up with a list of items and asked each invited party guest to select something from the list to bring in lieu of a birthday gift. "I was fine to not get presents because it was much more fun to help other people who needed things," Tess said.
It occurred to Tess that her dentist might be able to help her celebrate, so she wrote him a letter explaining how she planned to spend her birthday and asked him if he'd be willing to donate some things. He happily replied with as many toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste as she needed to get the job done.
When her friends arrived on the day of the party, the house was decorated and the atmosphere was festive. The guests came bearing gifts of lotions, shampoo, small toys and treats to fill the bags and in return, each girl was given a t-shirt that read "Kind is Cool". The girls decorated enough bags for the 32 families currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House and then filled them with all the items, topping each one off with some homemade chocolate chip cookies they made, as well!
Delivering the bags was fun. "We had to take two cars to get there. When we got there our arms were full bringing everything inside. They showed us around and we even got to play in the playroom for a little while! I wish we could have met the families but I'm glad they'll get the bags we made."
When asked if she'd celebrate her next birthdays by doing something kind for others and what she might do differently in the future, her big brown eyes widened. "Yes, I would definitely do it again. And the only thing I'd do differently next time is go to bed earlier!".