Kids & Family

Girl Gets Birthday Surprise From Her Favorite Celeb After Donating Luggage To Foster Kids

She gave up getting birthday gifts in exchange for donations to foster kids in need. Wait until you see who popped up in a Zoom call to say thanks and sing her 'Happy Birthday!'

While most fifth graders spend their days hanging with friends online or playing video games, Hadley Gray has been using her free time to help other young people in need.

Instead of asking for gifts for her 11th birthday, Hadley requested that folks in her community donate back packs, suitcases and other necessities to give to local foster children.

"I was planning my birthday party and I looked in my room to see anything I would need or want, and there was nothing I needed or wanted," Hadley told CBS5-TV.

Hadley's mom posted a video on her Facebook page to get the word out about Hadley's project...

Hadley started collecting items in December and, with the help of her mother, she has continued to gather items from the community throughout the Covid-19 lockdown.

Hadley is a huge fan of Tiffany Haddish, the actress and comedian who hosts one of her favorite TV shows, "Kids Say the Darnedest Things." When she was reading about Haddish online, she found out the 40-year-old actress was a foster kid when she was younger, and that she used garbage bags to move her belongings from house to house.

Hadley has been collecting donations for foster youth and shopping for supplies for months. Angella St Clair Gray/Facebook

"After I read Tiffany Haddish's story on the internet, I was inspired to help because of what she's been through and what she did to help. She also collected luggage for foster kids. She said that when she was in foster care, she had to use a garbage bag to take her things from home to home and it made her feel worthless," Hadley said.

Hadley called her project, "Hadley's Bags of Hope," and over the past six months, she's collected over 60 pieces of luggage, along with dozens of duffel bags, stuffed animals, coloring books and hygiene items.

Along with luggage, Hadley has been collecting stuffed animals, coloring books and hygiene supplies for foster kids in her state.Angella St Clair Gray/Facebook

After packing up a cargo van with all of the donations, Hadley and her family delivered them to the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

Even though Hadley didn't want any birthday gifts for herself, she got a sweet surprise from DCS when she dropped off the donations. Along with a mini birthday party with balloons and cake, Hadley joined a Zoom call where Tiffany Haddish sang her "Happy Birthday" and thanked her for her generous contribution.

Hadley was shocked when Haddish joined the Zoom call to sing her 'Happy Birthday.' Screenshot: Fox 10 Phoenix

"The way you're supporting foster youth, and putting yourself out there and thinking of others before thinking of yourself? I think that's beautiful," Haddish said on the call. "I'm so glad you're on this earth and I hope you're on this earth for 100 more years."

Hadley dropped off her donations to the Arizona Department of Child Safety so they can distribute them to local foster youth. Angella St Clair Gray/Facebook

Hadley is still collecting luggage, blankets and other items for foster youth and she hopes her efforts will inspire people in other states to do the same.

"Hadley doesn't like it when people are sad," her parents said. "She tries to do what she can and feels like she can to bring some joy into people's lives."

Hadley says she'll continue collecting donations for foster youth in her community. Angella St Clair Gray/Facebook

How can you start something good?

If you'd like to contribute to Hadley's mission you can email: engage@azdcs.gov.


Those in Arizona can visit Haldley's mother's Facebook page to learn about donation drop-off locations in the area.


Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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