WESTPORT, Conn. -- For her 10th birthday, Westport fourth-grader Shira Zeiberg asked her party guests to make bring donations rather than gifts.
Shira, who attends Kings Highway Elementary School, held her fourth annual fundraising party at Peachwave of Westport. Shira asked her 38 guests to make online donations to The Humane Society of the United States. Shira set a fundraising goal of $1,800 after raising on average $1,500 per party in previous years. She exceeded her goal raising more than $2,000.
Charlene Zeiberg said her daughter was excited about the party and didn’t miss getting gifts.
“Shira didn’t need 38 more birthday presents,” she says. “This was a lot more meaningful. It’s something that can resonate with her for the long term.”
Shira’s loves animals and wanted to do anything she could to help protect them. The issue that most concerns her is puppy mills.
"I saw all these dogs in a HSUS video," Shira said. “They were in cages and looked really sad. They were all by themselves. That made me want to help them.”
Shira is encouraging her friends to rescue dogs instead of buying them from puppy stores. Shira’s sister Brianna has also been fundraising for the Humane Society for the past five years and her mother, Charlene Zeiberg is a Connecticut State Council Member for the Humane Society.
Peachwave of Westport contributed 20 percent of the party’s cost to her charity. Peachwave said it was "extremely proud to be involved in such an event."
“We are pleased to contribute to such a great cause," said Gregg Roberts, Peachwave of Westport’s president. "A charity linked birthday party teaches the children empathy at a global level and Peachwave hopes to be a part of future events such as this.”
Danny Magic, Planet Pizza, and Party Harty all donated 15 percent to 20 percent of the party costs.
“The goal is to involve the community, and show how all of us can make a difference,” says Charlene Zeiberg.