COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Cookeville fourth grader is on a mission to make every birthday a happy one.
Birthdays have always been big deal for Lillian Upchurch.
When she found out some of her schoolmates don’t get the same kind of present-filled parties, she knew she wanted to do something.
The idea came to her around Christmas.
“I was at lunch one day and a girl was talking to her dad. She said, ‘I really want Christmas presents, dad. Are you going to get any this Christmas?’” recalled Lillian. “He said, ‘I can just get a few. I’m trying to save up, but I don’t know if we can get very many.’”
A light bulb then went off in the 9-year-old’s head and the “Birthday Box” was officially born.
Each box Lillian creates is filled to the brim with birthday party necessities.
“It has like bottles of soda and invitations, cups, plates and streamers. Everything you need to throw a birthday party,” explained Lillian.
The boxes even include presents.
Each month, her school counselors pick two families they know are having a hard time financially.
They ask the parents what they’d love to see in the Birthday Box and Cookeville’s Life Church and a Random Acts of Kindness group gets it for them.
And their reaction is always priceless.
“They’re just overwhelmed. They say thank you so much, oh my gosh my child? Thank you so much! That’s unbelievable we really needed that this month. How did you guys know? We weren’t going to be able to throw a birthday party this month,” School counselor Chloe Callis said.
Lillian never knows who gets her birthday boxes.
Her hope is that the parents will present it in a way so it appears it came from them.
“The fact that she had an idea and then knew what to do with it next is so impressive,” Callis said.