As social distancing and self-isolation become the new norm amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, residents of the Gleannloch Farms neighborhood in Klein have found a way to celebrate with neighbors while still keeping a safe distance.
Gleannloch Farms resident Shelley Miles said she organized a small caravan of cars to drive by in parade-like fashion to celebrate her daughter's 13th birthday since friends and family were unable to visit as a result of social distancing and quarantining.
"We had about five cars in her parade, and ... they circled her a few times; they had confetti to throw at her, and it was just a lot of fun for her," Miles said. "She thanked me, like, three times that day, randomly. You can hardly get your teenager to talk to you, and then, when they're thanking you without being prompted—I knew it meant a lot to her."
Since then, Miles said she, along with other residents Courtney Spata, Heidi Kerley and Elyzabeth DuRard, created the HBD Quarantine Parades in GLF Facebook group to organize birthday drive-by parades for other neighbors in the community.
Since March 31, the group has organized over 75 birthday parades, which Shelley said can grow up to 50 cars long. The parades have even garnered participation from neighborhood motorcycle clubs and Station No. 8 of the Klein Volunteer Fire Department.
"I have met so many incredible people and the feedback is all positive," Miles said. "Bringing people together is a happy experience. It gets their mind off of what's going on."
Several neighborhood residents have also supported the efforts by gifting items to those celebrating birthdays. Vicki Robinson, owner of One Hip Mom, located at 9337 Spring Cypress Road, said she felt inspired to give away Costa Rican Pura Vida Bracelets from her shop to those celebrating their birthday.
"[The organizers] have just done such a phenomenal job in getting so many people involved and making so many people's day in the situation that we're all in," Robinson said."They've really started something that's put a lot of smiles on a lot of people faces."
Birthday kids have also received free sweet treats from neighborhood resident Deepak Budhrani, a Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery franchisee.
"As a neighbor of this wonderful community, it warms my heart to see the love and compassion we have for each other during these tough times," Budhrani said in an email. "Sure, we might be in quarantine, but birthdays and milestones deserve to be celebrated. Great American Cookies [and] Marble Slab Creamery is proud to play a role in bringing smiles and joy to Spring in the form of fresh baked cookies, cookie cakes and [homemade] ice cream."
Miles said the parades are generally organized for residents ages 1-18 and 65 and older, but anyone is welcome to be celebrated on their special day. For Saturday, April 25, Miles said the group has seven birthday parades scheduled to take place.
Miles, who is also an office manager at Skin 101 Medical Spa in Houston, said even when she goes back to work at the beginning of May, she hopes to continue organizing the birthday parades.
"I really want to continue it somehow, even if we just do them in the evenings, because the kids are still out of school; they still can't have friends over [or have] birthday parties like they could [before]," Miles said. "So we'll still try to figure out how to do it until, I don't know, maybe forever."
How Gleannloch Farms residents are safely celebrating birthdays amid the coronavirus pandemic
Birthday kids have also received free sweet treats from neighborhood resident Deepak Budhrani, a Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery franchisee. (Courtesy Jenna Ryan Vorhies)