SALEM — Hannah Finn, the daughter of a Lynnfield woman and a Peabody man, began the One Wish Project when she was just 14 years old as a way to
SALEM — Hannah Finn, the daughter of a Lynnfield woman and a Peabody man, began the One Wish Project when she was just 14 years old as a way to host birthday celebrations for children in homeless shelters and foster care.
Finn began by baking cakes for eight children in a homeless shelter in Essex County to give to them on their birthdays, along with a few little gifts. Six years later, Finn’s nonprofit now hosts birthday celebrations for more than 600 children and will add 200 more through their new partnership with the Salem Department of Children and Families (DCF), which will begin in October.
“It’s amazing to see it grow over the past couple of years,” Finn said. “I wanted to take something that I enjoyed doing, which was baking, and I wanted to sort of use that to pay it forward.”
Going into her freshman year of high school, Finn saved up her babysitting money to pay for the birthday celebrations of eight to ten kids, only spending about $15 per kid, baking a cake, and buying them gifts from the dollar store.
“It was sort of just a little community service project. It wasn’t supposed to be anything as big as a nonprofit,” Finn said. “It just grew from there.”
About three months after she started, Finn got a call from another homeless shelter, asking if she could do the same thing with them, but for 60 kids.
Finn took on more babysitting gigs to pay for the celebrations and got her first donation from the kids she babysat.