Amelia Whiting’s birthday parties just keep getting bigger and bigger.
And with bigger parties come more presents. Only, this 11-year old isn’t much into gathering gifts.
“I already have everything I need,” she says, during an interview at Cottonwood4 Cinemas. It’s become her favourite birthday party locale, because it can fit so many people and she can enjoy a favourite film with her friends.
And each friend she invites is bringing a gift, not for Amelia, but for a kid somewhere else in Chilliwack. All of the unwrapped gifts will be collected throughout the party, and delivered to Chilliwack Community Services (CCS). This is going to be her third birthday party collecting on behalf of CCS, who gathers them for Christmas hampers, and for gifts throughout the year.
And because the gifts go to CCS, she also takes non-perishable food donations. Last year, she collected more than 200 pounds of food, along with 60 gifts.
This year, she’s hoping to collect 300 pounds of food, and 150 gifts. She’s invited more than 50 people, including her friends and family, soccer team, and her acting friends from the Chilliwack School of Performing Arts. Having her parties at the movies allows her to invite as many friends and family as possible, without being overloaded with multiple gifts.
It also allows her to mix up her favourite sport with her love of theatre. And this year, the film Amelia and her buddies will watch is the musical, The Greatest Showman. The party is closed to her and her friends — the marquis above the theatre door will even announce her name — but anyone wanting to drop by and help donate to her efforts to boost the CCS Christmas hamper fund can stop by Cottonwood4 Cinemas on April 14, before about noon.
“Last year we were watching the movie and came out and the boxes were filled!” she says, as people from the community showed up and dropped in presents.
And since they aren’t for her, they don’t need to be for 11-year-old girls. She is hoping there is a wide range of presents that any kid would enjoy. But she’s really hoping people will donate soccer balls, so she can share her love of soccer with kids around the community.
The gifts need to be new, and unwrapped.
And don’t worry about Amelia. Her parents know exactly what to get her each birthday — tickets to a live show or concert. This year, she hasn’t decided between going to Justin Timberlake or P!nk.
“I’m super proud of her for this,” says mom Julia Petitclerc.
“It makes me feel so good making people happy,” Amelia adds.