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Oh My Goodness: Westchester County Mom Organizes Birthday Parties For Homeless Children At Local Shelter

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A special birthday party is on tap Saturday at a homeless shelter in Mount Vernon.

A local mom is sending a message to the children staying there that the community cares.

"I put out the call for presents and party favors and party supplies and within a week, all of these incredible games and toys and books showed up in my basement," Julie Latz told CBS2's Tony Aiello.

Julie Latz's rec room in New Rochelle is loaded with supplies to bring birthday cheer to homeless children at the Westhab Vernon Plaza Family Center in Mount Vernon. (Credit: CBS2)

It looks like a party store stockroom, but it's a New Rochelle rec room, loaded with supplies to bring birthday cheer to homeless children at the Westhab Vernon Plaza Family Center in Mount Vernon.

"I want these children to know that they matter, their birthday matters, and we see them and we hear them," Latz said.

Latz created the group "We Celebrate You" after seeing a story on the CBS Evening News about a California teenager throwing birthday parties, complete with entertainment, for children living in homeless shelters.

"My children know how much I believe in gratitude and expressing it," Latz said.

Grateful for her own loving family and comfortable home, Latz knew she had to do something for homeless kids here.

You may be surprised by the number of homeless children in wealthy Westchester County. The City of Mount Vernon alone estimates it has 900 homeless kids enrolled in the local school district.

Many families want to help.

Children at Holy Family School and local Girl Scouts are aiding Latz's effort. She's now set for many monthly parties, where young homeless guests will receive favors and books and those with birthdays that month will get handmade cards and gifts wrapped by young volunteers.

"There are so many moms and dads out there who are getting their children involved and letting them know just how lucky they are with the lives that they're living," Latz said.

Lucky to be able to share the birthday love.

Latz threw her first party last month. She says it's hard to describe how much it meant to the homeless children who attended and to the volunteers who helped.

For more information about "We Celebrate You," visit their Facebook page here. Anyone interested in supporting the group can email

Our series Oh My Goodness highlights people doing good deeds in their community, either big or small. Do you know someone doing good or making a difference in your community? We want to know all about them!

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