Birthday Party for Veterans


The American Red Cross is committed to supporting military members, their families, and veterans through its Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) line of service. This activity is a birthday party hosted at a local veterans’ hospital or veterans’ program.



A birthday party for veterans is a great way to show appreciation to the people who served our country and support the Red Cross mission.


How to Get Started

Step 1: Set Clear Goals and Objectives

Define your desired outcomes for the activity and create measurable goals and objectives to guide the planning process. We encourage you to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations into your activity and be creative with your approaches.


Step 2: Plan the Details

Contact a veteran’s program

   • Connect with a Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) representative to let them know you would like to organize birthday celebrations for veterans and have them direct you to a veteran’s hospital or homeless veterans’ program in your community.


Brainstorm ideas for the party

   • Host a themed party with ideas, such as carnival/state fair or Hollywood glam. Make sure to communicate the theme with the volunteers and the facility.

   • Create a music playlist to play during the party. Show your selection of songs to the facility before finalizing the playlist.

   • Host a party every month or every quarter to ensure everyone’s birthday is celebrated. 


Step 3: Coordinate the Logistics

Set a date and time

   • This activity can be completed within an hour.

   • Work with the facility to determine a date and time for the party and begin planning activities (e.g., trivia, board games, storytelling, cookie decorating).


Secure a venue

   • Identify a veterans’ hospital or veterans’ program in your community and contact their program manager to let them know you are interested in hosting a birthday party. Ask if they have policies and procedures for hosting events.


Assign roles and responsibilities

   • This activity requires volunteers to prepare for and facilitate the birthday party. Make sure they understand the importance of following protocols and restrictions in place.


Gather supplies

   • Create a list of supplies needed and arrange to acquire them in advance

       • Talk to local grocery stores and kindly ask if they would be willing to sponsor your activity by providing dessert (e.g., cupcakes, cookies, cakes), drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.

       • Do label ingredients in the dessert due to potential food allergies or dietary restrictions.

       • Gather decorations, plates, napkins, and cups. Ask your school if they could provide these items to support the activity.

       • Prepare name tags for all the volunteers and veterans.


Spread the Word

   • Advertise the activity through various channels such as social media, email, and school announcements.

   • Send a reminder with important details prior to the activity. 


Step 4: Facilitate the Activity

  • Run through Step 2 and Step 3 in advance and engage the participants throughout the activity.

  • Arrive early to set up for the activity.

  • Encourage the volunteers to get to know the participants/veterans, ask questions, wish them a happy birthday, and have fun!


Step 5: Debrief and Thank Your Volunteers

  • Invite participants to discuss their experiences and capture lessons learned.

  • Thank everyone who contributed and participated.

  • Remind volunteers to record their hours through Volunteer Connection.