BRANDON, Fla. — What started as a simple idea has turned into a nearly 10-year tradition for Betsy Moriarty.
- HERO Betsy Moriarty is a volunteer with A Kid's Place of Tampa Bay
- Moriarty throws birthday parties, special events for foster children
- A Kid's Place of Tampa Bay
Moriarty has devoted herself to making sure children in foster care have plenty of happy memories.
That's where A Kid's Place of Tampa Bay comes in, where Moriarty is a long-time volunteer.
In operation since 2010, the facility is a special place in Brandon where abused, neglected or abandoned children can feel at home.
The facility holds 60 children at any one time.
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"(This is) a safe place to come where they will feel loved," said Operations SupervisorMary Dozier. "Where they can get some medical attention if needed. We try to hit every area we can while they're here.
"Physical, emotional and education."
Moriarty said her volunteer journey started simple enough, with just a phone call.
"I was just wondering can I come in and do birthday parties and they said sure," Moriarty said. "And here we are nine years later still doing birthday parties."
The first time she threw a bash for a child at the facility, the little boy told her he had never had a birthday party before.
"He hugged me and said 'I never knew if anyone would care about me' " Moriarty said.
By that point, Moriarty said she knew she was on the right track.
"Regardless of what happened in my life or what I was doing, the Birthday Bunch needed to continue."
But Moriarty has not stopped with birthdays. She also sets up a Christmas Party with gifts and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. And when it comes to any other task around A Kid's Place, Dozier said Betsy never says no.
"This (Betsy Moriarty) is an amazing young woman that into our lives," Dozier said. "And one of the things about Betsy, besides her big heart, she has great passion for the children."