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Cheerful givers is a unique charitable organization that addresses an unmet need by providing birthday gift bags for children who are homeless or living in poverty so that their parents can reocognize their one special day -- their birthday!
Remember when you turned eight? Try to recall it. Surely you were filled with excitement about the family, friends, cake and most importantly birthday presents that awaited you!
Now imagine receiving nothing -- not because you’ve been bad or you don’t deserve to celebrate, but simply because your family can’t afford it.
Today, in a society that has so much to give, thousands of children who live in poverty don’t receive any gifts at all on their birthdays.
This is where Cheerful Givers steps in. By providing toy-filled gift bags to food shelves and shelters, the organization is working to ensure that every child receives a gift and that every birthday is special.
Since 1994, Cheerful Givers has distributed over 286,000 birthday bags to children and families in need. It's a lot of work, but they get it done with the help of selfless volunteers like Nancy Peyton.
Peyton came to VolunteerMatch looking for a flexible volunteer position she could do from home -- what we call virtual volunteering. After searching, she found a role soliciting in-kind donations to fill gift bags for Cheerful Givers. She started volunteering in March of this year.
"I love seeing results, having a purpose and a focus, and knowing that I'm helping others," Peyton said. "Also, because I'm a 'virtual’ volunteer, I can do my work at midnight or stay in my pajamas all day if I want to!"
According to Karen Kitchel, president of Cheerful Givers, the match was perfect. By using her evenings and free time throughout the day, Peyton has made a huge impact for the organization.
"In the last six months, Nancy has volunteered 25 to 30 hours each week and has become our Lead Volunteer," said Kitchel. "Because of her targeted research, great communication skills and excellent follow-up, she has raised over $100,000 in in-kind donations."
"VolunteerMatch has taught us that we don't need to limit our volunteer recruiting to people who live in our community," she added. "Virtual volunteers have responded and been able to address a wide variety of needs."
Peyton says her parents always encouraged volunteering while growing up. But being a virtual volunteer is very different from her first volunteer job shelving library books in elementary school.
Though Kitchel and Peyton have only met in-person once, the two have struck up a friendship and find it humorous that both the UPS driver and mail carrier who deliver to Cheerful Giver's headquarters (i.e., Kitchel's house) think Peyton has moved in.
"Many of the donors send their donations to Karen's house addressed to me, and I now get phone calls there too. One day a guy even showed up asking for me!" Peyton said.
Cheerful Givers turned out to be a great fit for Peyton, but she wants others to know that it sometimes takes a little leg work to find an opportunity that suits you.
"Look for something that sounds interesting and just try it," she urged. "If it doesn't work out, be honest and admit it rather than simply disappearing and not following through. Eventually you'll find the opportunity you’re looking for."
Are you searching for a flexible opportunity that matches your talents and abilities? Log on to VolunteerMatch.org today and find virtual opportunities in an area that interests you!