MLB helps foster kids celebrate with Birthday in a Box program

February 20th, 2024

Major League Baseball is teaming up with Foster Love to help kids in the foster care system have the birthdays they deserve.

On Tuesday, MLB employees across the country in New York, Boulder, Col., and San Francisco joined together to package over 100 birthday boxes for foster children in their local communities.

At the MLB headquarters in New York City, over 50 volunteers showed up to help put together the birthday packages, part of Foster Love's "Birthday in a Box" program.

"When kids get into the foster care system, their birthday isn't a priority, right?" said Foster Love founder Danny Mendoza, who was at Tuesday's event in New York. "It's making sure they're safe, making sure they find a place to live. The workers are just trying to find a place that fits right for them.

"In that process, their birthdays are sometimes neglected, or forgotten, or just a lot of families don't have the resources to celebrate. So our job is: How do we provide the social workers with the birthday boxes?"

Participants decorate boxes during the MLB Together and Foster Love Packing Event at MLB Headquarters.Eve Kilsheimer/MLB Photos

The MLB volunteers decorated all of the 100 boxes and wrote "Happy birthday" messages to include with each one, before filling them with birthday party supplies -- banners, balloons, streamers, candles -- plus packs of baseball cards and McDonald's gift cards.

"It's literally a party in a box," Mendoza said. "That way they have everything. It's just to decorate their room and stuff. We put all that together, and it's a great time for the volunteers and for the kids who are receiving it. Often we hear it's the first birthday present they got, which is crazy."

The New York birthday boxes will be sent to a foster agency on the Lower East Side of Manhattan to be distributed to the children staying there. The boxes assembled in the MLB offices in Boulder and San Francisco will go to foster youth in their own communities.

"It means a lot, not only to have MLB supporting kids in foster care, but also to be able to impact kids in different communities," Mendoza said. "Because for us, our goal is always: How do we make this bigger and help more kids? So to be able to use MLB's resources to do that, it means so much for us."

Tuesday's event with Foster Love was organized through MLB Together, the league's community and social responsibility platform. MLB and Foster Love, which was created in 2008 to serve the foster care community and has served over 850,000 foster kids, have been working together for several years.

Participants pose for a photo during the MLB Together and Foster Love Packing Event at MLB Headquarters.Eve Kilsheimer/MLB Photos

"MLB reached out to us and wanted to do something to get the employees engaged, and we've been building that relationship," Mendoza said. "But our long-term goal is: How do we get baseball fans involved to show MLB as a brand that cares, but also to create a safe haven for kids in foster care -- to be able to go to a game one day and find a community of fans that don't care about your economic background or your political background, where today, you're are all on the same team and rooting for the same team.

"To hopefully one day create that, where the kids can go to the park all together, I think would be super cool."