Many Hospitality Helping Hands (HHH) volunteers plan events, but their efforts yesterday morning led to a celebration of a whole different kind: an epic baby shower for 20 local families in need.
The annual volunteering event is a way for PCMA participants to give back to the Convening Leaders host city. More than 150 supplier and planner volunteers partnered with Beverly’s Birthdays, a Pittsburgh nonprofit that provides birthday celebrations for children and families experiencing poverty and homelessness.
Sunday morning, HHH volunteers split up into groups to prepare the donated space at Nova Place in Pittsburgh for the party. One group packed 200 Itty Bitty Birthday Cheer Bins — newborn care packages that include diapers, wipes, and other essentials. Other groups put together party favors and readied a pop-up boutique where the moms-to-be could go “shopping” for clothing, jewelry, and backpacks for themselves and their other children. Volunteers’ registration fees also raised $10,000 for Beverly’s Birthdays.
“We started the Itty Bitty Birthday program as a way to recognize the first ‘birth’ day,” said Megs Yunn, founder and executive director of Beverly’s Birthdays. “There are moms here today who might never have had anyone give them love and attention or experienced a baby shower. The [PCMA] volunteers helped create that special moment for them.”
Yunn established Beverly’s Birthdays seven years ago after submitting the winning proposal to Scholastic Books’ Be Big in Your Community contest. She named the organization after a little girl who told Yunn she had never had her own birthday party or slice of birthday cake.
“We started out by holding birthday parties at an addiction recovery facility, and we’ve grown every year since,” Yunn says. Today, Beverly’s Birthdays recognizes more than 30,000 children annually through its six programs by partnering with 68 social service agencies and 73 low-income schools.
The opportunity to lend a hand to the local community is what has drawn Crystal Fields, sales manager at Music City Center, to participate in HHH events for the past 15 years. “Giving back,” she said “is always good for the soul.”
Ross Sawai, executive vice president of sales and marketing for MCI USA, appreciates the opportunity to reconnect with folks from past events. “PCMA offers many ways for people to support the industry and the host city,” he said. “Every day of the event, we can meet and talk to other organizations. That means a lot.”
HHH also provides a hands-on learning experience for those interested in planning volunteering opportunities at their own events. First-time volunteer Melissa Johnson, meeting and special events planner at the Public Library Association, attended the HHH event for inspiration. She said her organization is planning to offer a similar experience at its next conference.
“It’s really about trying to figure out to not just give back to the community,” she said, “but to leave a lasting impression on the city.”
Convene content partner Ascent wrote this story.