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)

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)

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

A rendering of the proposed development at the intersection of Leon Avenue and Water Street. (Contributed)
Massive Leon Ave development coming back to Kelowna council

The towers would stand at 24, 28 and 42 storeys, the largest of which would be the tallest building in the city

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

The Stuart Park ice rink in January 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna’s Stuart Park outdoor ice rink opening delayed

Recent provincial health orders have again shifted the city’s strategy regarding the popular rink

The Rutland IGA is located in Willow Park Shopping Centre at 590 BC-33. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Customer asked to mask up, throws hot coffee at Rutland IGA employee

The woman grabbed cat food on her way out when she refused to wear a mask

Police service dog Fitz helped track and rescue a lost hiker and his dog in Kelowna. (Kelowna RCMP)
Kelowna police dog Fitz dies of cancer

Fitz recently helped locate a lost hiker in the Central Okanagan

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

RCMP searched for a suspect in Polson Park following an assault on a woman Thursday, Nov. 26. (Morning Star file photo)
Public warned after woman assaulted in Vernon’s Polson Park

RCMP on the hunt for suspect, described as in his 30’s

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

City of Armstrong Public Works Yard. (Google Maps)
Armstrong city staffer threatened in snow removal complaint

Community services manager says ‘veiled threat’ is believed to have been flippant, but is being taken seriously

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read