| Danielle Eaton
AGAWAM/WEST SPRINGFIELD – A local towing company is working to ensure that despite difficult times and being unable to have a party, children in the community still get to celebrate their birthdays.
Karen Luginbuhl, who owns His and Hers Towing with her husband, said she was inspired to begin offering birthday parades for community children after seeing a parade of teachers in West Springfield. Additionally, she said she has a young child who is turning four at the end of April who she couldn’t have a party for.
“Our son is turning four on the 29th of this month, we can’t do a party for him, everyone is posting about postponing parties,” Luginbuhl told Reminder Publishing. “So we started talking and decided to do a birthday parade. So many kids are getting their parties canceled, and they don’t understand.”
Luginbuhl said the pair is organizing a list of volunteers that would meet at a “community spot” while observing social distancing guidelines to sign a card for each person celebrating a birthday the day of the parade. While they will be meeting to sign a card, she said precautions would be taken such as volunteers having their own pens and using gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
The card would then be delivered to the child or child’s family, along with a cupcake from a local bakery, all while observing social distancing guidelines. She said the goal of the parades is to bring people together during a difficult time.
“Ultimately, what we wanted is to bring the communities together. This is a horrible time for everybody,” she said. “From one small business to another, we want our kids to realize the community still cares and is coming together to show them we’re there for you even though we can’t be there for you.”
Luginbuhl said they’ve already hosted several parades, and have several more planned throughout the month of April. She added that she hopes this will provide a positive example for her son. “I’m using it as a learning tool for my son,” she explained. Luginbuhl said she wants her son to know “in times of crisis it’s better to give rather than to get.”
She explained that while the pair is “gearing it towards kids,” the company would happily do a parade for anyone. “There’s really no age limit on having a good day on your birthday,” she said. “It’s really open for anyone. We’re willing to work with anyone.”
While the parades are open for all ages, Luginbuhl said they’re trying not to do parades outside of West Springfield and Agawam for several reasons, including keeping parade volunteers in mind. “We’re trying to keep it limited to Agawam, West Springfield unless the circumstances are presenting themselves to be more important,” she said. “It’s easier to organize a small group, [and] taking 20 minutes out of their day rather than an hour and a half seems more realistic.”
However, Luginbuhl said the parades will still have to be scheduled around the jobs the towing company needs to do. While the parade may not be able to happen on the day requested, she said the company will find a way to ensure it still takes place no matter what. “We will get it done, even if it’s a day or two after the birthday. Everyone’s getting a card, [and] getting a cupcake.”
The parades, she said, are completely free. “There’s no cost, we aren’t even asking for donations. We just want people to realize regardless of who you are, the community cares,” she said.
Anyone wishing to request a birthday parade or wanting to volunteer to be part of parades can reach Luginbuhl on the Facebook group set up to coordinate parade efforts (www.facebook.com/groups/664684590951300) or by reaching out to the company via the His and Hers Towing page.