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Throwing a charitable party

Keeping up with Kendall

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Last year, Kim Kardashian’s little sister, Kendall Jenner, passed up a chance to take 75 of her closest friends to the Bahamas for her Sweet 16. Instead, she had a low-key party at a Hollywood hotel, where she asked her guests to bring toys for sick kids at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

Jenner proves that bigger isn’t always better. A charitable party doesn’t have to take away from your special day — it enhances it.

Here are some ideas that you could use to give back without giving up the spotlight:

• A popular option for charitable parties is having guests bring donations. Donations don’t necessarily have to be monetary; it could be anything, depending on the needs of your charity. While you and your guest dine on prepared foods, there are so many people that go without. This is where you could make a difference — have your guest bring in non-perishables liked canned food. Your donations can go to Feeding America, a large hunger-relief charity that feeds those in need through a nationwide network of food banks. You could also give donations to a local charity and help bolster those in your own community. Asking guests to clean out their packed pantries and bring their unwanted non-perishables to your party may seem like a very small gesture, but it can have a huge impact on someone who is truly in need.

• Haven’t worn those skinny jeans in a while? Chances are you probably won’t be reaching for them anytime soon. Maybe your friends also have some clothes they no longer wear. This is the perfect opportunity to turn your party into a clothes drive. Have guests bring their gently worn clothing and accessories to be donated to the Salvation Army. This is a win-win situation — you and your friends will have cleaner closets and you’re helping the less fortunate.

• If you’re an eco-friendly teen and want others to join the cause, your party is the perfect platform. Check to see if any of your local parks need help planting trees. Then, take your party to the great outdoors and have a tree-planting party — this could be a great way to bond and get fresh air. Not the outdoorsy type but still care about the environment? Make sure your party materials are as green as possible. Replace physical invites with e-invitations using websites like punchbowl, Evite, and pingg. Instead of buying imported food or flowers, hit up your local farmer’s market for fresh, seasonal selections. Another easy way to keep things green is in lieu of gifts — have guests donate money in your name to an organization like Love Trees, which makes sure kids all over the world have trees by planting them in countries like Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, and Haiti.

• Are you an animal lover? Giving to the furry and feathered would be the purr-fect cause. Animal shelters and many other organizations like the ASPCA depend on volunteers and donations to function, so every little bit of kibble helps. Have your guests bring animal food, pet supplies, and toys for animal shelters.

A charity party is a great way to share something that you believe in with your friends and family. Everyone knows that you are special, but this displays to your loved ones that you are truly becoming a well-rounded woman. Just keep in mind that there is no donation too small — every bit helps! And nothing brings people closer together like a common cause.

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