Cake, balloons, and gifts are all things we have grown accustomed to receiving on our birthdays. Some people, however, are unable to enjoy this privilege. Martha’s Home understands the value of celebrating one’s place in the world. On Friday, April 2, 2021, Martha’s Home held its quarterly birthday event at the Cinergy Amarillo.
Martha’s Home celebrated 8 different birthdays from January, February and March. The event was met with nothing but thanksgiving.
“One of the women thanked me like 10 times for just having a birthday party, because her birthday was included in this celebration and, yeah, ‘somebody thought about me somebody remembered’. And some of these ladies especially haven’t had anybody remember their birthday in years. And then it’s important for the kids to kind of just have that moment where they’re like everybody else, where they’re like their peers. And what, what might have been a bad memory having a birthday in a homeless shelter turns into a good memory,” said Connie Garcia, the executive director of Martha’s Home.
For some, a cake was more than enough.
“I’m just happy my name is on the cake,” said Hazel, who was one of the birthday girls of the day.
Sharon Miner, the Director of Development and Public Relations, shared about the time she first realized how much value these forms of celebration hold.
“The mom was over in the corner crying. And I, I didn’t know how to approach that, you know, so I just went over to her and I said, Did we do something wrong, you know, what’s wrong. She said, ‘, No, everything is perfect. She said, ‘I’m just overwhelmed by the fact that my son is eight years old and he’s never had a birthday, and for it to be given by strangers is just overwhelming to me,” Miner said.
What many overlook is that people don’t go out of their way to choose these circumstances.
“Most people don’t wake up at two years old and say, ‘Well, when I grow up I’m gonna be homeless,’ you know or, ‘I’m gonna be addicted to drugs or, ‘I’m gonna, you know have a rough life.’ Circumstances cause that and whether that happens when they’re 2, 3, 4 years old, or whether it’s something that happens when they’re an adult from an abusive relationship or whatever the situation may be, you know, they need to know that there’s somebody who cares, and Martha’s home really does that and does a beautiful job of it,” Miner said.
Of course, this event wouldn’t have taken place without the help of some funding.
“All this is being specifically provided by a donor, Superior Health, which is a healthcare vendor, a Medicaid vendor and they gave us money specifically for this purpose, just to throw birthday parties,” Garcia said.
To Superior Health Plan, funding is more than a simple task.
“Birthdays are a huge deal. I grew up with birthdays being important and they should be celebrated. I’ve always had a heart for Martha’s home and getting to do what I do and being who Superior (Health Plan) is, with the health and wellness of the community and bringing people together, we decided we wanted to celebrate birthdays. So, a couple years ago we partnered with Martha’s Home to do birthday parties,” said Deadra Carver, Community Relations Representative for Superior Health Plan.
The women and children weren’t the only ones who enjoyed their time at Cinergy.
“It’s just always fun to watch them open their presents and the kids to have a good time,” Garcia said.
Simply enjoying the community was what many of the workers and volunteers enjoyed most about the evening.
“I just like being around the kids and the women and everybody I look forward to just playing with them and getting to be down to earth with them and just spend time with them, letting them know they are loved. They do mean something and birthdays should be celebrated,” Carver said.
The event had a good turnout, and the gift of laughter was ever-present.
“I just want everybody to be happy, you know, I just, I just want to hear laughter. I just want people to get out there at Cinergy and, you know, do what they do or do what they don’t do because I don’t do it, I’m going to eat. But I just want people to laugh and enjoy themselves,” Miner said.
To learn more about Superior Health plan, visit https://www.superiorhealthplan.com/. For more information on services, donating, and volunteering with Martha’s Home, visit https://www.marthashome.org/.