About The Valley: Bethany's Birthday in a Bag Doubles Deliveries in 2nd Year

Description: This Southeast Colorado non-profit began as a Girl Scouts Gold Award Project and this year has doubled the number of birthdays in a bag delivered in the Arkansas Valley.

About The Valley Podcast

Bethanys Bday in a Bag About The Valley 1-18-22

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Bethany's Birthday in a Bag Interview

SECO News: This is Adrian Hart with your Southeast Colorado News on seconews.org

About The Valley SECO News seconews.org

This is "About The Valley," Our podcast program talking about The People of Southeast Colorado in business across Southeast Colorado and with us this morning is Bethany Taullie. She has a very cool business she's been running for better than a year now. We'll get into the history on it with her. It's called Bethany's Birthday in a Bag, so first let's talk about the premise of the business. What was the idea that you had that really sparked this Bethany?

Taullie: So, my dad used to record everything when we were kids and I remember I was watching a recording of my sixth birthday party, and I was watching my self opening presents and you know. I was spinning around in my little petal dress and I got this birthday bear, which I still have now and I remembered and thought about the fact that some times kids don't get to have that experience. Whether it's outside factors or their parents are financially struggling. And this was around the time that I was trying to find my Girlscout Gold Award Project and everything kind of just came together. I also really loved Operation Christmas Child and the idea of putting together those boxes, so I wanted to combine all of those ideas together and that's whenever I created the "Bethany's Birthday in a Bag," which creates birthday bags for kids that their families are financially struggling in the Arkansas Valley.

SECO News: Oh, very cool. So it's very local as far as the effort goes.

Taullie: Yeah.

SECO News: How do you start with a project like this?

Taullie: It was very slow in the beginning, I just started reaching out to a lot of different places trying to figure out if it was actually a need. One of my biggest partners in the beginning was Associated Charities and they helped me a ton with, you know getting along and trying to figure out contacts and after a while I just realized that there are so many different places that need these birthday bags. I reached out to a bunch of different elementary schools, I think, it goes all the way from La Junta, all the way to like Manzanola and Fowler. I went all the way over there and we did a bunch of different foster care systems. Like I have Kids Crossing, and The Arkansas Valley CASA, and different things like that.

SECO News: Oh wow. So, supporting non-profits in the area has helped you get the birthday bags into the hands that deserve them?

Taullie: Yeah, so they were able to help me, kind of like, guide me along the way. Actually Associated Charities is one of my distribution sites, so they also help me hand out bags too. 

SECO News: Alright, very cool. So, it's not just in La Junta. I know you're a Swink student.

Taullie: Yeah.

SECO News: So, it kind of started in Swink?

Taullie: Yes, I do have the bags at Swink. Right now it's actually a club at Swink that I founded and created. 

SECO News: Okay.

Taullie: Where a few, I have about ten students who have helped me throughout the year to be able to collect donations, put the bags together, we did a K through 12 school fundraiser at my school for the donations, which was really awesome to see a bunch of kids come together to try to, you know, help other kids. That was really, really exciting. So, year I've been able to get my school involved a lot in that. 

SECO News: So, kind of the concept is many hands make light work?

Taullie: Yeah.

SECO News: That's right, you've been able to increase your reach by having some volunteers help. 

Taullie: Yes.

SECO News: Very cool, so now you've got kids who are making the product, if you will, putting the bags together and they're being funneled out to kids in need through local non-profits like CASA, Associated Charities, through the school districts.

Taullie: Yeah, CASA, and there's apartment complexes in Rocky Ford. The Plaza Nueva I'm pretty sure is the name. That's one of the places that I've been able to hand out bags this year. Cause last year I think I had around eight and this year I went to twelve, but I ended up doubling my numbers because last year I created a hundred birthday bags, and this year I think I did around 180.

SECO News: Oh wow.

Taullie: So this year it was a big increase, which is really exciting considering I am a senior this year and I won't be here next year. So, you know I wanted to give out as many as I possibly could because I do want it to be a sustainable club at Swink, but it does require a lot of work, so I'm sure that they're probably not going to be able to create 200 bags next year.

SECO News: Right.

Taullie: Yeah, but I do really want to take it, I'm going to go to Colorado Christian University in the Fall for college and I really want to make it a non-profit club there. And I've already talked to people about that, and I want to be able to spread the bags around more of the Denver area cause I know that there's a ton of places that would probably need it over there.

SECO News: Very cool, so there's already big plans to grow the non-profit business and not only serve the community in Southeast Colorado, but that would be fantastic to set up an organized effort down here and then to build one up there. Very cool. Is there anything else that you want to add, I mean we've talked about you've done almost 300 birthdays in a bag and what type of stuff do they get?

Taullie: So, I feel like it's kind of organized out into the birthday party and then the presents. So, with the birthday party there's like balloons, streamers, there's cake mix frosting, cake pans, all of that fun stuff.

SECO News: Everything they need.

Taullie: Everything they need and then the toys would be stuff like stuffed animals, crafts, you know like it depends on the gender too. I have ages 3-6 and 7-10 for both boys and girls. So, yeah crafts, coloring pencils, it can really go for anything, you know sometimes they'll get a football, or a doll, or a Barbie. you know all that stuff.

SECO News: Right, exactly. Is there anything that you want to add. We can include some links for your contact info and stuff in the body of this article.

Taullie: Yes. So, I do have a Facebook page where I update everyone on what's going on, and just you know some cool pictures, like last week I finished handing out all of my bags for this year and I got to post all those pictures on there, which is really exciting.

I also have a registry. It's a Walmart registry where you can scroll through and if you want to donate, but you just want to do it online, you can simply click a one-dollar crayon box, and if you pay for it, it will be sent directly to me and Swink School to be used for the next year's bags, which is really exciting. If you just want to do in-person donations, The Arkansas Valley Animal Hospital, you can always drop things off there, because my Mom's there.

SECO News: Alright, so donations go to Ark Valley Animal Hospital.

Taullie: Yes.

SECO News: And we'll have links to more information at the bottom of the article. 

Taullie: Yes.

SECO News: Thank you so much for doing what you're doing with Bethany's Birthday in a Bag.

Taullie: Thank you for having me.

SECO News: You're making a difference on a lot of different levels for the people of Southeast Colorado.

Taullie: Thank you.

SECO News: Alright. I'm Adrian Hart on "About The Valley," our program dedicated to The People of Southeast Colorado on seconews.org.

Of course you can find us on Spotify, Youtube, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

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