Here at the Ranch, we like to make the boys feel special on their birthdays. They receive a gift bag and with the help of our volunteers in the Birthday Club, they also receive cards. We would like to honor one volunteer in particular, Pat Johnson, who went above and beyond and for 16 years made the bags for the boys! We can’t thank Pat enough for her generosity over the years. In total, she made 950 birthday bags!
We asked Pat how she started doing the birthday bags and what made her continue doing them for long: “I started doing birthday bags when I was working for a Minnesota based company that participated in Cheerful Givers. So many groups remember kids at Christmas and Easter but I’d never heard of anyone helping celebrate kids birthdays. Everyone has a birthday but many don’t get celebrated. Our office wanted to do something like this so I contacted the Banquet but they already helped out with their clients kids birthdays. They suggested I talk to McCrossan Boys Ranch. I did and the rest is history! It started out with a group of us from the office, but when the office I worked for closed, some dear friends Tim & Kaye Axtman offered to help me carry on.
We kept doing it because we were always humbled when we heard how excited some boys were to receive their bag. There was never anything huge in them. Just things like socks, soap, toothpaste, some kind of toy and of course a sweet treat! But they seemed to genuinely look forward to their bags and were grateful for whatever they got. I’ve been making handmade cards and gifts for years, so it was fun to share them with the boys. And why I do it…well, one of my favorite rubber stamps says it all… a quote from George Eliot. “What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
Thank you, Pat! We are grateful for your kindness and big heart for our boys. Because of you, it wasn’t just another day for the boys, they felt special. You have made a real difference in the lives of the boys we serve by helping us provide “New Hope for a Better Life.”
If you are interested in joining the Birthday Club and mailing cards to our boys, please contact the Development Office at 339-1203. A special thank you to Central States Manufacturing of Hartford for stepping up and taking over this wonderful project Pat started.