As Albertville mom, Katie Turpin's golden 29th birthday on April 29 approached, she had a dream and a wish in mind.
"The idea started small. My thought was that I would forgoe a night out with friends/family to celebrate my 29th birthday, and instead I would use those monies towards a bag of birthday supplies to donate to a local organization to help a family in need. But then I thought, 'What if I could do more?'" Turpin said.
So Turpin set a goal to assemble and donate 29 birthday bags for children in need, and she enlisted the help of neighbors, friends and family.
"I truly believe that every child's birthday should be celebrated, regardless of the family's financial situation," Turpin wrote in an email to friends and family.
What happened next surprised and thrilled Turpin.
"The response was immediate and overwhelming. Nearly every day in April I was picking up donated supplies or gift cards from people," she said. "And I would also come home to find donations awaiting on my doorstep or in my mailbox."
On the eve of her birthday, she had enough birthday bags for 41 children and to date the donations continue to come in.
"I estimate that by the time I'm finished we'll have helped 80 children celebrate their birthdays," Turpin said.
It was an overwhelming "yes" to that final question of "could I do more?"
"The response was something I never imagined," she said.
Turpin and her husband, Tim, along with their two children have already started dropping off and donating the bags to local-area food shelves, PROP in Eden Prairie (where both my husband and I grew up), Sharing and Caring Hands, the Ronald McDonald house, and others.
Turpin's sister-in-law, Christine Bluhm, and her three children got involved too.
"My twin sons share a birthday with Katie, so we went with her to deliver some birthday bags to the Rockford Food Shelf and the director was so thankful."
The birthday project turned into something Turpin never imagined. "It was amazing!"
Her husband and children continue to help deliver the bags and goodies she's received and she is so thankful to all her friends and family. "I could never have done this without them!"