Birthdays are fun! The day belongs to you. Young or old, we all like the idea of a birthday party with presents and cake and decorations. If you are a child, you especially look forward to receiving lots of gifts from family and friends. What if I told you there is a young girl who asked her parents for a birthday party when she was about to turn ten years old and the only thing she wanted in the form of presents was diapers and baby wipes?!
Kayla Smith and her parents are members of Jerome United Methodist Church in Plain City, OH. Kayla and her mom help with one of the church mission ministries called “Diaper Angels.” Diaper Angels’ mission is to provide diapers and wipes to families in need by connecting donations to local organizations and agencies currently serving families in the northwest central Ohio area including Franklin, Delaware, Union and Madison counties.
Last year, Kayla’s mom, Amy, took to Facebook, inviting one and all to an actual birthday party for her daughter. Attendees were asked to bring diapers or wipes instead of toys for Kayla. As Amy went on to explain the nature of Kayla’s request, she said, “Her goal is to change the world, one diaper at a time!” As you can imagine, the outpouring of generosity for this project was nothing short of amazing! Capitalizing on the Jerome UMC Upward Sports program that was underway at the time, the birthday party invitation and request for diaper donations was extended to several hundred additional families.
The weeks leading up to Kayla’s birthday party brought many additional diaper donations through the front doors of the church. Shipments of diapers were also being delivered to the Smith family’s front doorstep! The tallying began and the numbers grew. By the time the date of the party rolled around, the result was beyond anything they could have imagined. More than 14,000 diapers had been donated!
Fast-forward to one year later. When the calendar was flipped to 2017 and Kayla talked with her parents about her upcoming birthday, it didn’t come as a surprise to them that she wanted to do the same thing again…only bigger and better. Setting a goal to collect 15,000 diapers, the campaigning began once again. More than 16,000 diapers were collected this year, all in the name of Kayla Smith’s birthday.
As Christians, we recognize our responsibility to serve and do for others. Hebrews 13:16 tells us, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” How many of us wait until we are personally asked or begin to feel the weight of guilt before we finally take action, pushing up our sleeves, setting aside time in our busy schedules or very simply writing a donation check? Kayla’s wise words give thought to doing for others: “When we work together, we can show God’s love to others.”