Families of all ages came together on Sunday, May 20, 2018, for CakeWalk—a fundraiser for Birthday Wishes Inc., a non-profit that provides the joy of a birthday party to children and families experiencing homelessness.

One of the top individual fundraisers was Newton’s Lily Paltrowitz, who assembled a team she named “Lily Bat Mitzvah,” made up of her friends and family in honor of her upcoming bat mitzvah.

“It’s my 13th birthday this year, and I’m going to have a really big party for my bat mitzvah,” Paltrowitz said. “I wanted to give other kids who are less fortunate than me the opportunity to have a party too.”

CakeWalk is Birthday Wishes’ signature family-fundraising event and reflects the grassroots nature of our organization and the importance of kids helping kids. Every step taken and every dollar raised by walkers helps ensure that children impacted by homelessness will be able to celebrate their birthdays.

“I’m overwhelmed by the generosity and the spirit of young people like Lily,” said Birthday Wishes executive director and co-founder Lisa Vasiloff. “It’s going to mean a lot more happy faces over the next year.”

The day included a 5K walk around Lasell College, raffle prizes and outdoor activities. CakeWalk emcee, WCVB meteorologist A.J. Burnett, kicked off the walk with a heartfelt speech about the importance of birthdays in the lives of all children, despite their living situation.

“If ever there’s a time in your life when you deserve to feel special, it’s on your birthday,” Burnett said.

This year, 150 walkers raised over $100,000 to ensure that every child experiencing the trauma of homelessness has the opportunity to celebrate their birthday joyfully, surrounded by family, friends and others who care. The Lily Bat Mitzvah team raised a total of $1,385 for the cause.

“I feel really good that I helped kids who aren’t fortunate to have a party. Now they can have one too,” Paltrowitz said.

Last year, Birthday Wishes served over 5,200 birthday children and over 26,000 birthday party attendees. We believe that birthday parties provide the opportunity for reflection, celebration and hope. For children experiencing homelessness, families may be unable to maintain their routines and rituals. Birthday Wishes ensures that children are not denied this important rite of passage simply because of their living situation.

For more information on Birthday Wishes, or to make a donation or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit birthdaywishes.org.

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