The nonprofit got its start in 2014 after two mothers -- Shani Hall and Melissa Smith (pictured) -- got together for a normal play date in Alamo with their children. Melissa talked about how someone she did not know had knitted a lavender hat for her daughter, who had just undergone surgery at only six days old.
The warmth of knowing a person could have that kind of selfless generosity touched Melissa’s heart and she shared with Shani her determination build on that experience.
Thus began their partnership, and, as their ideas blossomed, Party In-Kindness was created. It works with those planning an event to pair the fun with an easy concept and simple way to collect donations for worthy causes.
“Party In-Kindness helps people turn any occasion into a reason to give, whether a book club meeting, birthday party or a holiday celebration,” Melissa said at a recent luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Pleasanton.
“It offers party-givers an easy way to give back to local charitable organizations that are meaningful to them,” she explained.
Shani agreed, adding that PIK encourages hosts to include a giving component to their events by asking guests to make donations to support local charities in the East Bay.
“Instead of a bottle of wine or birthday gift, for example, guests are asked to financially contribute or bring in-kind donations for a cause the hosts are passionate about,” she said.
PIK, in effect, works to turn everyone’s party into a “party in-kindness.”
Since its founding, Party In-Kindness has been responsible for more than $100,000 in monetary donations to local charities and some 20,000 in-kind donations.
“Items donated include art supplies for ill children, baby items for babies in crisis, toiletries for people living in shelters, meals for the homeless, toys for children in need and even more lavender hats for little babies needing comfort,” Melissa said.
Here’s how it works:
Before planning an event, hosts should contact Party In-Kindness to discuss a charity they would like to help. PIK can help choose a local organization that it works with, or any others the hosts prefer.
PIK takes it from there. It contacts that charity, finds out what its needs, then provides the hosts with that information before the party. Once the party is over, PIK picks up the donations to deliver the items to the charity.
"Our family has partnered with Party In-Kindness for the last three years and we have found the experience to be tremendously worthwhile and inspiring,” commented Alex Lee, a donor on Party In-Kindness’ web site: firstname.lastname@example.org/
“We have always wanted to expose our children to philanthropy at a young age and this is the perfect organization to partner with. We are lucky to have them in our community,” Lee added.
This month, PIK is also supporting Trinity Center, a homeless facility at 1271 S. California Blvd. in Walnut Creek. A $20 donation will provide socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, bar soap and cleansing wipes.
At its annual “Power of Kindness” event on April 13, when the nonprofit seeks contributions to help it continue its fundraising mission, it also will donate a portion of the funds to The Katie Nues Foundation, which serves Katie’s Clinic at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. The clinic helps those affected by Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder. The fundraiser starts at 6:30 p.m. at 1515 North Main St., Walnut Creek.