Charlie Manning, 6, with some of the hundreds of cards she received in Kamloops, B.C. from birthday well-wishers from across the globe. (MICHAEL POTESTIO/KTW)

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

–– Kamloops This Week

On the lawn of a Westmount home during a sunny Thursday morning sat six-year-old Charlie Manning, waiting patiently next to a table covered in parcels and birthday cards.

One might have thought there were dozens of people waiting to jump out and surprise Charlie, judging from the large number of presents and cards, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Charlie celebrated her sixth birthday at home with grandparents, Ray and Tammy Manning, who are raising her.

Since pre-school, the Westmount elementary student has had a birthday bash on the last days of school in June with her friends, but the pandemic cancelled that this year. Her June party in Kamloops is usually followed by a trip to Idaho in July to visit her aunt Becky and cousins, who reciprocate the visit for Charlie’s birthday in August.

But that, too was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, however, Charlie was able to have a unique celebration at a time when it looked like she may not be able to have one at all.

Her aunt reached out to some Facebook groups that have people send cards to children and asked people to simply wish her niece a happy birthday.

The response was immense.

Before the Mannings knew it, an avalanche of cards and parcels began arriving at their doorstep from people around the world who had never met Charlie.

In total, 173 cards and about 15 packages were delivered from places like Arizona, Australia, Belgium, Calgary, Comox, California, New York, Mississauga, Ireland and England.

One woman from Montreal even reached out to Sweet Spot Cupcakes in Kamloops and ordered a dozen of the treats to be delivered on Charlie’s birthday — Aug. 13.

Sweet Spot Cupcakes owner Paige Knapp dropped off the treats on Thursday morning, along with a present from her and the staff. She is also making a birthday cake this weekend for the soon-to-be first grader.

Knapp said when she realized what was being done for Charlie, she wanted to contribute.

“I’m glad I was able to make her day a little bit brighter,” Knapp said.

An excited Charlie was quick to bite into one of her dozen cupcakes and she made short work of her gifts — a pile of postage, toys and trinkets littered the grass around her in about an hour.

Confetti-laden cards and anything with unicorns or from Disney’s Frozen brought an elated gasp from the six-year-old.

“I wanted this for days,” she said of one gift.

“Oh, my gosh, look at this,” she said of another.

“I think that’s for you,” she told grandfather Ray.

Charlie Manning, 6, and grandpa Ray dig into some Sweet Spot Cupcakes, delivered to their Kamloops, B.C., home on Charlie’s birthday — Aug. 13. They were ordered by a woman in Montreal who answered a social media request from Charlie’s aunt for people to help her niece celebrate her COVID-restricted birthday. (Michael Potestio/KTW)

Ray said it was difficult to explain to his granddaughter why she couldn’t have a party this year and was concerned it would be a sad occasion trying to navigate a birthday amidst COVID-19.

But, he said, the generous outpouring of gifts has had Charlie “bouncing off the walls” and it’s been a humbling experience for himself.

“These people don’t know us from a hole in the ground, but it really gives you a sense that in times like this, there’s still good people out there,” he said. “People do care. I mean, here’s a little girl that is being raised by her grandparents, so we don’t have kids her age in our circle of friends, and they’re making sure she has a birthday she’ll always remember.”

Charlie’s grandmother, Tammy, said she gets teary-eyed thinking of how a random group of people and her daughter stepped up to give Charlie this celebration.

“She’s a very outgoing child, so it’s hard for her and it’s hard when you’re raised by older people,” Tammy said. “This will be a birthday she’ll never forget.”

Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Haida hereditary chief named Liberal Candidate for North Coast Region

Roy Jones Jr. is named Liberal MLA candidate for the North Coast

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Most Read