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GALLERY: Woman’s 50th birthday bash benefits Pahrump kids

Birthdays offer a chance to celebrate oneself but for Shannon Arimura, her 50th birthday wasn’t just about her.

This service-oriented resident used her life milestone to do something special for youth in the community, hosting a donation drive that ultimately resulted in the building of dozens of Birthday Boxes. Those Birthday Boxes will now make their way into the hands of area families, giving them everything they need for a proper birthday celebration of their own youngsters.

Arimura’s 50th birthday party took place Tuesday, June 25 at the Pahrump Moose Lodge, where the room was filled with friends, family and supporters all eager to mark the occasion.

“The party went really well, my besties went out of their way to decorate and get everything set up,” Arimura told the Pahrump Valley Times afterward. “I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for all the donations that people brought and all the people who came, even from Vegas, to help pack boxes.

“I have several people who were my volunteers for Relay for Life when I worked at the American Cancer Society that are now family and some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet,” she continued. “They drive out to Pahrump whenever I have a big life event, so sharing this with them was special and I appreciated them being there. We also had Moose members in attendance and some of my co-workers from Nevada Volunteers lent a hand.”

Throughout the evening, the group put together kits complete with cake mix and a can of sprite, a cake pan, frosting, candles, birthday accoutrements such as a banner, balloons and noisemakers, birthday hats, a card, some goodies and even a little gift. As of July 1, Arimura had a total of 63 Birthday Boxes packed and ready to go, with materials enough remaining to create even more.

“I just need to buy a few things we ran out of but I’m making a total of 75 all together,” she reported.

Arimura noted that she was pleasantly surprised to see how many donations she received from people who don’t even call Pahrump home.

“I got a lot of donations from friends and family who are out of state. My mom and dad were my biggest supporters. I really appreciate their support, because I’m not even helping kids in Indiana!” Arimura raved. “So the fact that they were willing to donate to help kids here in Pahrump made my heart happy. I believe I am the person I am because of my parents. They believe in doing for others, supporting your community and recognizing people for their efforts in making the world a better place. Honestly, the average gift was around $100. It was very humbling that people would give so much, and very unexpected. I appreciate all the gifts, big or small! They will mean the world to these kids.”

The Birthday Boxes effort is just one example of Arimura’s constant philanthropic drive, with a variety of other projects undertaken that have had a positive impact on the community.

“If I see a need, I seek to fill it,” Arimura explained. “When I moved to Pahrump, I couldn’t get my girls into Girl Scouts, so I started a troop. Then I had other parents asking me why their girls couldn’t get placed, so I became the Volunteer Coordinator so I could help Pahrump families get into troops. I saw kids struggling with things at my kids’ school, so I started a Parent-Teacher Organization, out of which came the Food for Thought program, which fed approximately 700 students every weekend for 10 years. After a few years, we expanded to covering three meals a day over the summer and holiday baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Helping others gives me purpose and joy. Using my big milestone celebration to ensure others can celebrate just felt like the right thing to do,” Arimura concluded. “You can’t get a better birthday present than knowing you are the reason that kids across the valley get to celebrate their own birthdays!”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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