Santa Barbara Business Reports by Ray Estrada
‘Virtual’ Cake to Mark South Coast Woman’s 105th Birthday
Goleta-based Direct Relief International has created the world’s largest “virtual” birthday cake, a Facebook application called Edythe’s 105th Birthday Challenge, which will allow users to light a candle and wish the “world’s oldest volunteer” a happy birthday on Jan. 22.
Edythe Kirchmaier has been serving others for more than a century. Forty years of that time have been as a volunteer with Direct Relief International. As she approaches her 105th birthday, she said she hopes to inspire the world to make a difference, as she has, by raising awareness for the charity to which she’s dedicated much of her life.
Direct Relief’s goal is to generate 105,000 birthday wishes, which will equate to 105,000 Facebook fans for the disaster relief charity and make her birthday wish come true.
“Edythe is an amazing source of inspiration and joy and such a powerful example of personal commitment to make a difference through the course of one’s life,” said Direct Relief Vice President of Communications Kerri Murray in a press release. “We should not have been surprised, given Edythe’s tireless service, that she wanted to use her 105th birthday to encourage others to join in the mission of improving the health and lives of people in need.”
To participate in Edythe’s 105th Birthday Challenge, visit the app on Direct Relief’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/directrelief. Well-wishers also may join the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #lightacandle.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1908, Kirchmaier has been a member of the YWCA girls clubs, active in her high school Glee Club, a Girl Scouts troop leader, in the PTA, as well as in Santa Barbara’s First Presbyterian Church, where she continues to be a member.
Since 1948, Direct Relief International has aided people hit by poverty, disaster and civil unrest at home and around the world. Direct Relief supports healthcare providers in the United States and in more than 70 other countries by sending them with the medicines, supplies and equipment.
The organization has been among the world’s largest medical suppliers in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, has top charity ratings, including four-star and “top-notch” rating from Charity Navigator, and a 99 percent fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine.