Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Mail for Heroes Turns Soccer Holiday Party into a Successful Volunteer Event

When Christy Clark began to plan the annual holiday party for her daughter’s soccer team, she saw an opportunity to take a different approach than the usual snacks and gift exchange. “This year, I thought, they could do something besides opening a gift; they should do something for others” she said.
Christy found a natural fit for the team’s volunteer efforts in the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program. She received an email from her mother-in-law, Sherry Clark, an employee of Subaru, a generous donor to the Red Cross. In the email, Sherry described the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, in which the Red Cross delivers cards from the public to members of the military – both overseas and stationed at home – and veterans. “It was so easy to put together.” Christy said. “The girls love to do crafts anyway. It was their little party and social time, too. ”

The event resulted in three bins full of completed cards for service members, and the teams succeeded in collecting 195 pounds of donated food for the Arvada Food Bank. The event was coordinated originally by Christy’s daughter’s 11th grade team, but was opened up to welcome all players from the local Colorado Edge Soccer Club to participate. The event coincided with indoor soccer events at Arvada’s Apex Field House, so players passing by between games completed cards  and dropped off donations throughout the day.

Christy said her family volunteers together every year, and she believes the Holiday Mail for Heroes event sparked an interest in volunteerism for the players involved in the event. She said that players who dropped in to make cards were overheard discussing volunteer possibilities for their own teams. “It was so much fun, and the girls had such a blast. We’re going to start doing this every year,” she said.

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