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Charlotte companies finding ways to keep kids' birthdays special during COVID-19

The coronavirus has led many to cancel plans, leaving parents scrambling to find new ways to make birthdays special, from a distance.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Birthday parties are supposed to be joyous celebrations; the birthday boy or girl usually surrounded by friends and family, everyone singing. But coronavirus has forced so many of us to cancel those plans, leaving parents scrambling to find new ways to make birthdays special, from a distance.

But as WCNC has found, local businesses are stepping up and getting creative, offering services to help you safely celebrate your loved one – while you help these local businesses stay afloat.

“Just last week alone I had 27 events postpone,” said Tiffany Donovan, owner of Confetti Castle, a Charlotte-based balloon installation and event décor company. 

With parties postponing, Donovan says she came up with the idea to deliver bags of balloons. 

Donovan says she ties-up the bag outside, often to front door handles, keeping a safe social distance. Each bag is $40, including delivery and even comes with a list of creative games the recipients can play using the balloons. 

Donovan says she’s already received over 300 orders.

“So people supporting me, and things like this, is what will save my business to make it through this time,” she said.

Donovan says she often receives text messages from recipients showing kids squealing and jumping for joy. She says lately, people have been placing orders to send the bags of balloons as a gift to a friend or to help cheer someone up. 

Manolo’s Latin Bakery located at 4405 Central Ave in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood has also been hit hard as catering events and gatherings have halted. 

But the bakery’s owner Manolo Betancur is once again stepping up for his community. 

This time, he’s partnering with groups in the community to make sure no child goes without a cake on their birthday. 

Salma Villarreal, program and engagement coordinator for Our Bridge for Kids, a non-profit that gives opportunities to roughly 150 immigrant and refugee children living in the Charlotte area, says Betancur recently reached out offering to give free birthday cakes to any child whose birthday falls during the global coronavirus pandemic. 

“It might feel -- for a lot of my students right now -- that nothing is special and that you know they might feel really heavy and down and I think this will be a really great way to bring hope back to them,” says Villarreal. “So, I’m really excited for it and I’m really appreciative for everyone in the community that’s donating for this, that’s signing up to volunteer to deliver the cakes.” 

For more information on how you can donate, call Manolo’s bakery at (704) 568-2120. To volunteer to deliver a cake, please email salma@joinourbridge.org

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