Blandon best-friends Brooke Daczewitz and Alexa Hromiak celebrated their 13th birthdays with a benefit pool party, collecting donations for the Greater Berks Food Bank.
“For our 13th birthday, instead of getting gifts, we asked our friends and family to bring food and items to donate to the Greater Food Bank,” said Brooke.
On Aug. 10, their guests of about 100 people arrived not only with a few canned goods to donate, but bags full and boxes full of food, toiletries and other donations. They counted a total of 378 items afterwards.
“We’re grateful to be able to bring that to the food bank,” said Brooke.
This made them feel “amazing,” said Alexa. “I loved donating to help people.”
Brooke said it makes them feel really good “to help someone’s life get better.”
On Monday, the teens and their Moms dropped off 379 pounds of food and $120 in cash donations at the Greater Berks Food Bank.
“It just makes us feel so good to know this is going to a good cause,” said Brooke. “It feels nice to help people who don’t have a lot... feels good to know I’m making a difference in someone’s life.”
“We were pleasantly surprised by how many donations came in,” said Alexa’s Mom, Wendy. “(The guests) were carrying in boxes of food. They brought so much more than I expected.”
How has the benefit birthday party changed the birthday girls?
“It makes me feel a lot more thankful for what I have,” said Alexa.
“And more giving to others,” added Brooke.
The Daczewitz and Hromiak families, who are neighbors, had volunteered with their church at a soup kitchen in December. The Greater Berks Food Bank supplies food to all food pantries in Berks and soup kitchens, including the one they volunteered. Their volunteer experience in the soup kitchen inspired the Blandon friends to want to do something to benefit their community.
Their Moms suggested a birthday benefit party for the food bank. Brooke and Alexa said they loved the idea.
“We wanted to do something for other people since we already have enough,” said Alexa.
“We were real proud of them,” said Alexa’s Mom, Wendy. “At 13 they like their things and gift cards. We volunteered in a soup kitchen and I think that really affected them in a positive way.”
“With their friends responding so well with (donations instead of gifts), they realized it was a good thing,” said Brooke’s Mom, Jackie.
Brooke and Alexa will celebrate their 13th birthdays the end of August three days apart. The Fleetwood Middle School seventh graders feel this is a special birthday as they enter their teens.
To celebrate the occasion together, the girls spent the summer planning the big party, inviting their friends and family to Fleetwood Pool, which was rented out for the festivities. They had a cotton candy machine, Snow Cones, DJ, and played games like raft water relays and whipped cream eating contests.
“Everything was fun,” they agreed.
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