Maple Grove teen collects birthday gifts for needy

Tyler Edberg, a seventh grader from Maple Grove, will become Bar Mitzvah (a Jewish boy turning 13) in November. He has recently completed his Bar Mitzvah project.

Tyler Edberg of Maple Grove displays the donations he has collected for Cheerful Givers as part of his Bar Mitzvah project.

His synagogue, Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka, encourages Tikkun Olam (Jewish value of kind acts to repair the world) by asking students to select a charity to connect with and support. Tyler choose Cheerful Givers, a local non-profit whose vision is that “all parents living in poverty will be able to celebrate their child with a birthday gift.” They value human dignity, stewardship and community building.
Since the founding in 1994, Cheerful Givers have gifted over one million birthday bags to children who would otherwise receive no gift on their special day. Tyler was drawn to this particular organization because of their mission, and their founder Robin Steele’s great responsiveness to communicate and encourage Tyler.
Steele and Tyler have communicated throughout the summer via email about Tyler’s project. Last week, Tyler delivered the items he had gathered to their headquarters in White Bear Lake.
Tyler used a variety of methods to excite local residents about the organization, and to donate. He’s collected boxes of new toys to fill gift bags, and $245 in monetary donations which he used to purchase even more books, toys, activity kits and more. He brought with him 179 new items (including baby dolls, infant toys, Legos, magic kits, Barbies, dress-up costumes, car toys, art tools) to provide Cheerful Givers.
April Edberg said, “Tyler’s experience extends far beyond providing gifts to children who would otherwise receive none on their birthday. He’s developed leadership skills in corralling donors, he’s shared his passion for the cause enough to move people to donate, he has increased awareness of the charity Cheerful Givers, and Tyler has helped others feel pride in contributing to such a wonderful cause in hopes that they will continue Tikkun Olam.”