Are you familiar with Angel Trees? Every year, charities decorate Christmas trees with lists of gift items for children who may not otherwise receive a gift during the holidays. But what happens to these same children when their birthday rolls around? This question led Jenny Williams to begin Candle Wishes.
Candle Wishes is a non-profit that fulfills birthday wishes and provides essential needs for underprivileged children in Tennessee. Since 2002, they have been fulfilling birthday wishes for hundreds of children throughout Rutherford County. In 2003, they helped grant birthday wishes for 375 children. They now help touch the lives of over 700 children a year.
Each month, Candle Wishes holds a birthday party for children celebrating their birthday. Nothing can compare to the look of excitement and joy in a child’s eyes during these birthday celebrations. Some of our employees saw this first-hand during the April birthday celebration. Redstone’s employee volunteer group Charity Finders sponsored 19 children during this event, which resulted in over 100 gifts!
Over 150 people attended the Candle Wishes April birthday celebration, which included pizza, cake, nail painting, a bounce house, and of course gifts! Each child received gifts from their wish list, which ranged from skateboards and bicycles to clothing and dolls. For these young children, this event makes them feel special and allows them the opportunity to celebrate their birthday in ways they may have never been able to before.
“Redstone is giving back to families in need and truly making a difference. This kind of compassion in the business community is what makes Rutherford County such a great place to live," states Jenny Williams, Candle Wishes Founder and Executive Director.
Candle Wishes is also an important resource for families, connecting them with a variety of assistance programs and organizations that can assist them in their time of need. This falls into their mission of positively impacting the lives of children and making life better for struggling families.
One of Jenny's aspirations for Candle Wishes is to grow it from a local non-profit to a national one, allowing Candle Wishes to help children and families all over the country. They began this process by launching their Memphis, TN chapter of Candle Wishes in 2010.
From left to right: Redstone employees Brad and Mary Grace, Candle Wishes executive director Jenny, Redstone employees Edie and Sharon.
Candle Wishes continues to look for other growth opportunities that will enable them to support children and families in other communities. If you're interested in forming a Candle Wishes chapter in your community, send them a message here.
"Candle Wishes volunteers experience first-hand the joy of helping others and that motivates them to seek other ways they can be a force for good. That desire to pay-it-forward makes a community a better place in which to live.” Candle Wishes website
If you want to help Candle Wishes, visit their website for a variety of volunteer opportunities. They are always in need of businesses and organizations to sponsor their monthly birthday parties. You can also sponsor a child, make a recurring donation, or hold a fundraiser to help Candle Wishes fulfill more birthday wishes!
Read next: The Charity Finders Story
Do you know of a local charity that could benefit from the help of Charity Finders? If so, please let us know in a comment below! We’re always looking for community organizations and charities to help support.