Some disadvantaged SLO kids don’t get birthday parties. This nonprofit is changing that

As a kid, Jeff Edwards always loved his birthday.

Edwards is a bartender at Cafe Roma and moved to San Luis Obispo with his partner seven years ago. He is known for throwing large birthday parties with notable San Luis Obispo residents in attendance, including Mayor Heidi Harmon.

Last year, when reading a children’s book that prompted readers to remember their favorite birthday party, a thought occurred to him. What if a child was never able to have a birthday party?

With that thought as a motivating force, Edwards founded Candles for Kids, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization to throw birthday parties for local disadvantaged children ages 8 to 11.

This past Wednesday, the organization threw its first birthday party for a 10-year-old girl who had lost both her parents.

Edwards said each party will be customized around the child. For Destiny, he and his team helped her go shopping for a new outfit and figured out her favorite colors, food and toys for the party.

Destiny’s celebration was at seafood restaurant Quarterdeck in Arroyo Grande, which was decked out in balloons.

“These parties are so special,” Edwards said. “There is a lot of love.”

Edwards said the organization, which currently has eight board members, hopes to throw a birthday party at least once a month. The organization has already met with other children and is starting to plan more parties.

Children can be nominated for a party through the organization’s website. For more information, call 805-980-8786 or visit candlesforkids.org.

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