Four Urbandale teens knew the true meaning of giving well before the holiday season began.
While most 14-year-olds would like a new iPod, iPad and other hot-ticket items for their birthday, Austin Lamm, Maddy Carver and twins Abby and George Reis didn't want any gifts from their friends.
The four teens teamed up on Nov. 10 to host a joint birthday party. But it wasn't just any birthday party; guests were asked to bring a non-perishable item for the Urbandale Food Pantry.
"I thought, personally, it was a win-win," said Austin. "We pretty much invited all the groups in the school and everyone went. No one was left out."
The idea for the party came from another friend who hosted a similar event on a smaller scale a few years ago.
"We thought it would be a good idea, especially this time of year," Abby said. "We thought since we're Urbandale kids we should take the time to think about our school and donate to our community."
In fact, the 100 guests in attendance combined to bring more than 500 items to be donated to the food pantry.
"It was wonderful," Eileen Boggess, executive director of the Urbandale Food Pantry, said of the donations. "All the kids came in and donated van loads of food. It was amazing, they were just the nicest…it seemed like a very natural thing for them to do."
The party went off without a hitch for the teens.
"It was incredible, it was something to remember," Austin said. "Friends thought it was a good idea and thought it was an awesome time because it was a simple thing, but there were a ton of people, so it became something huge."
The party was formal, with guests asked to wear black and white, while the four guests of honor wore bright colors.
Abby, Austin, George and Maddy pitched in to create fliers and decorate the Urbandale Senior Center for the party the morning of the event.
"It was really fun," Abby said. "Everyone had a great time. I'd definitely do it again, but it did take a lot of hard work."
Rae Lamm, Austin's mom, said the party was great, but also served as a great lesson for the teens.
"I'm proud of all the kids," she said. "It's nice to see them even deliver the items with pride. It's nice to see a teenager see something bigger than themselves out there."
The following items are especially needed:
- Personal products: unused, unopened and unexpired
- Fresh, nutritious produce
- Healthy, non-perishable, unexpired food items