Crush of excitement at ‘Birthday Angels’ wing-ding

Guests lifted their glasses May 26 at the Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery during Crushin’ It at the Winery, a fundraiser in support of the nonprofit Little Birthday Angels. Proceeds from the evening will help enable the organization to meet its mission of providing a birthday celebration for every homeless child living on the Treasure Coast.

The Pietsch family initially began hosting birthday bashes for homeless children in August 2014 and has since brightened children’s lives by celebrating 475 birthdays. Little Birthday Angels is currently serving 200 children residing at transitional housing facilities.

It was while dropping off a used game to the Hibiscus Children’s Village that Angel Pietsch and her sons, Hunter and Seth, first discovered that because of their circumstances, most of the children living there either no longer, or had never, celebrated their birthdays. The family took it upon themselves to throw birthday parties for the children at Hibiscus and later added the Hope for Families Center, the Samaritan Center and SafeSpace.

“Some of these children have never had a birthday party,” shared Angel Pietsch. Once a month, volunteers decorate a room at the shelters and provide games, cupcakes, goody bags and birthday presents for a group celebration.

“All of the children get a lap desk, toiletries, practical items and something the child put on their wish list,” adds Pietsch.

Pietsch said that many people are unaware that more than 3,000 homeless children currently live on the Treasure Coast – Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. More than 400 of those children reside in Indian River County.

In addition to shelters, the nonprofit has recently begun delivering gifts to homeless children at Oslo Middle School and Gifford Middle School in Indian River County and to the Weatherbee Elementary School in Fort Pierce. Homeless advocates at the schools provide the Birthday Angels with information so that the nonprofit can purchase age-appropriate gifts for those homeless children not residing in one of the shelters they serve.

Saturday’s continuing rain may have dampened the grass but certainly not the spirits of the guests, who enjoyed dinner, sipping on a selection of the winery’s Florida wines, listening to the music of the Sunrise Jazz Combo, having sessions in a photo booth and bidding on enticing silent-auction and live-auction items.

Instead of crushin’ grapes at the winery, guests had a stompin’ good time dancing under the pavilion to the sounds of raindrops falling on the tropical-themed garden.

For more information, including wish list items and details on how you can join the party, visit    

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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