Fairbanks community member spearheads birthday bag fundraiser for food bank

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 5:56 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As Fairbanks enters its holiday season, one community member has found a unique way for the community to help those in need.

Two years ago, Marisa Sharrah decided to try something new to celebrate her birthday.

“I’m not personally a big birthday celebrator,” she said. “So what I did was I just turned it into a drive for the food bank to collect birthday bags so that people in our community that are facing food insecurity and receiving food boxes also have an opportunity to celebrate a birthday in the home.”

People in the community can support the drive by either donating money to the food bank, or by donating bags of birthday supplies.

According to Anne Weaver, CEO of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank, said, “If somebody’s having a hard day, it adds one more touch of personal.”

Sharrah, a Board Member with the food bank, explained, “When I first started this, I just wanted to turn my birthday into something that wasn’t focused on me.”

Birthday bags can include any number of festive items, including birthday cake mix and frosting, napkins, plates, a tablecloth, and “the most important thing, especially if you’re a kid, is birthday candles,” according to Sharrah.

The endeavor has proved to be a tremendous success, garnering 144 birthday bags and $2500 in donations in its first year.

And 2020 saw more than 70 bags and $2700.

This year, the drive runs until December 10th.

Birthday bags can be delivered to Sharrah, who celebrates her birthday by turning them all into the food bank. Financial contributions can be made to the food bank by going to their website.

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