Student gives back for his birthday

Cans of food collected at a celebration and donated to local homeless shelter

Last weekend a Keene State College student was able to give back to the community while celebrating his twenty-first birthday.

KSC junior and business management major Thanakorn Thaibandit celebrated his birthday on Friday, Feb. 12, with the intention of doing more than just partying.

Thaibandit said he had created a Facebook page asking those who were coming to his party to bring along a canned food item or a nonperishable to donate to the Hundred Nights shelter located in downtown Keene on 17 Lamson Street. Thaibandit said he was able to collect two large boxes of food to donate.

Thaibandit said, “It’s fun for us to have fun, but you know in your head other people are suffering too.They need food and a home.”

Thaibandit continued, “I always do this every year anyways, so [I thought] doing it on my birthday would be nice, because people would be coming to my birthday anyways. I invited eighty people and I know that amount is going to be coming with cans of food. They walked in the door and just dropped the food in a basket.”

KSC junior and Environmental Studies major Victoria Drake was present for Thaibandit’s birthday party. Drake said, “I brought two cans of vegetable soup.” Drake continued, “I thought it was awesome because I think at first everyone thinks of their twenty-first birthday like going crazy, but he took the initiative to think of others before. The first thing he said was ‘I want to have this to help other people,’ so that was cool.”

Tim Smith / Photo Editor

Tim Smith / Photo Editor

When asked what inspired him to do all of this, Thaibandit said, “I honestly would say it started from my mom because my mom always would give back to people, and she doesn’t really care what people give her. Second myself, I’ve been through so much. I was born at the bottom and my mom fought her way through and I see everything of life that you can’t really imagine. I lived in a wicked bad house before and I didn’t have any food, like I had a bag of ramen for three people.”

Thaibandit said, “I know what they’re going through because I’ve walked twenty miles in their shoes before. So I know what they need. It’s just that feeling of just wanting to give back. You walk on the street and see homeless that need food. You try to make a difference for people.”

Executive Director of Hundred Nights Mindy Cambiar (KSC Class of ‘83) said, “I was really impressed. What a great thing to do on your twenty-first birthday. It’s very cool and I love seeing that.” She continued, “I’ve always been a believer in sharing the resources, it’s how you build a community. Hundred Nights is a non-profit organization. The resource center downstairs is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for donations to come in on Monday through Friday.

Those donations are then used to feed homeless or lesser off members of the community. Thaibandit said, “Those people are going to be eating your food and you know that food is going to be going into someone’s stomach and they’re going to be full. And they keep going another day, that’s a good feeling. When you’re hungry you just want food, and you know someone’s not going to be hungry anymore because of you.”

Victoria Drake said, “I think you do good things, good things come to you and it’s a good feeling when you do something good, especially when others take notice of it.”

Drake continued, “I think overall it was just a cool experience to kind of combine those things because I don’t think anyone would have thought a party could have raised that for people. I think that was a cool aspect.”

Thaibandit was able to combine a charitable act with celebrating his birthday.Thaibandit said, “It was the best birthday ever. Hopefully this article inspires somebody to do something I’m doing.”

Adam Urquehart can be contacted at

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