To many elementary students in and around the Pittsburgh area, Megs Schreck Yunn ’06 is the closest thing to a hero they will ever meet.
“I remember walking into a school one day, and I could hear the students saying out loud, ‘That’s the birthday lady. She’s our hero.’ It made me smile, but I feel like we’ve created a lane in Pittsburgh that allows kindness for kindness, goodness for goodness.”
Megs is the founder and executive director of Beverly’s Birthdays, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a birthday party for children experiencing homelessness and families in need. Beverly’s Birthdays has grown by leaps in bounds since it was founded in 2012 following a chance encounter between Megs and a then 11-year-old Beverly, who said she’d never had a birthday party or her own slice of birthday cake.
The North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania-based non-profit organization now has 21 employees with an annual budget of $2.5 million, and recently moved into a new 10,000-square-foot building. Over the past 11 years, the organization has also added free community baby showers and a fashion truck that allows partygoers an opportunity to pick out a dress.
Megs is responsible for overseeing all programming logistics, fundraising and marketing.
“The growth and the way we have changed over the past 11 years has been really organic. I believe we have been successful because we lean in and listen to the families and children. We added baby showers because we learned there was a need. I have four children, and my baby showers were when my family and friends gifted me with things I needed to start a family and continue growing my family. It is an important step that is missing for many new moms. Now we are helping them get started with some important necessities.”
In June 2022, Megs recognized another local need and founded The Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formal Bank. “I didn’t realize that food banks don’t source baby formula. It’s not on their list. That is the only food for a child under 1 if the mother isn’t breastfeeding. We have had over 1,200 referrals since we opened.”
Megs and her team also added a mobile fashion truck
In 2022, Beverly’s Birthdays reached some lofty goals:
- 9,732 Birthday Cheer Bins
- 139 Group Birthday Parties
- 2,800 Boutique Shoppers
- 2,111 Itty Bitty Diaper Bags
- 3,850 Party Guests
- 3,132 Birthdays-in-a-Bag
- 32 Free Community Baby Showers
Megs has been recognized in Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 under 40” for people positively impacting the region, and her efforts have also been noticed nationally. She was featured on Good Morning America in 2019 as a Hometown Hero, and in 2017 as an Inspiring American on NBC’s Nightly News with Lester Holt.
“Life without cause is life without effect. When I think about what it means to be a pioneer, it is someone who is able to pave the way toward a better world. We created a space that is glittery, cheerful and all about celebration — and that translates into a better world. There is no way this is where I thought I’d be in my life or my career, but I wouldn’t change a thing because there’s always another family who has needs and we are making a difference.”
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