Bella Smith couldn’t imagine not having a party for her birthday. So she decided to make sure all of her schoolmates would have the chance to celebrate theirs.
As the Lexington Herald-Leader reports, the 9-year-old from Laurel County, Kentucky is a third-grader at Wyan-Pine Grove Elementary School.
For several years, Bella has been making boxes filled with cake mix, frosting, and party supplies like balloons, hats, and banners. She gives these boxes (nicknamed “Bella Boxes”) to her school’s family resource center, which then distributes them to needy students whose family might not be able to afford a birthday celebration.
The tradition started when Bella was only in first grade when she was talking to a classmate who revealed that his family couldn’t afford birthday parties. Bella’s mom, Marlana Evans, told the Herald-Leader:
“She was talking to a little boy in her class about her birthday … and he told her that he didn’t have a birthday. His family couldn’t afford that so he had never had a birthday party or a cake or any kind of celebration.”
Bella had wanted to buy her friend a cake. When they realized they wouldn’t be able to buy a cake for every child at school who couldn’t have a birthday party, the Bella Boxes were born.
Evans is a teacher at the elementary school. She told “Good Morning America” that there are quite a few children who wouldn’t have a birthday celebration without the boxes:
“The school she attends is a Title 1 school, which means 80% of the population here is impoverished — so we have students that struggle with a lot of things.”
This year, Bella made 80 boxes for her fellow students. Next year, her goal is to make 100. The supplies for the boxes come from community donations and even Bella’s own savings. For her own birthday, March 26, Bella always asks for donations to the boxes rather than gifts.
“I’m extremely proud of her,” Evans told “Good Morning America.” “She’s a very good girl with a big heart.”
Bella added, “I thank God for the opportunity for letting me be able to shine my light and show that I love my neighbor.”