Spreading Good Cheer
The holiday season can be an ideal time to get your cheerleaders together for community service projects. There are always events going on to help out those in need this time of year, and the biggest thing they need- volunteers!
Here are some ideas of projects you can do to help spread cheer in your community and show your athletes the true meaning of the season.
1. Hold a food and supply drive for a food pantry or domestic violence shelter.
-There are several ways to do this. You can set up time with your local grocery store to stand out front and hand out lists of needed items to shoppers as they enter and take donations as they leave. You can also set up a day at your gym and distribute flyers to have the community drop off supplies at the designated time. Third, you can keep it within your gym and have a contest between teams to see who can bring in the most in donations.
2. Help bag holiday dinners for needy families.
– In my town, our local Walmart and Bob Evans restaurant both donate a set amount of holiday dinners for needy families in the community. They always need volunteers to help organize and bag up these dinners. Sign your cheer squads up for a shift to help out with this task.
3. Volunteer at the soup kitchen.
– Contact your local Salvation Army to find out how your cheerleaders can volunteer in the soup kitchen for a day.
4. Make tie blanket beds for pets at the local animal rescue.
– Set a date for your cheerleaders to meet at the gym with supplies to make no-sew pet beds for the shelter or animal rescue.
Suggested supplies per cheerleader: 2 yards of fleece, scissors, 1 bag of batting, a ruler.
Instructions are at the link below:
5. Carol and cookies at the nursing home.
– Contact your area nursing homes to see if you can bring your squads in for caroling. You can break up into teams and each take a wing of the nursing home stopping by each resident’s room to sing carols. Have each cheerleader bring a dozen cookies (be sure to include some sugar free ones for diabetic residents). Another fun activity- decorate their doors for the holidays. You can use wrapping paper and bows, along with pictures from the front of cards (great way to recycle those old holiday cards from previous years). The residents LOVE it. Last, see if there is an activity hall at the nursing home. You may be able to put on a small show as well.
6. Coat drive, hats, gloves, etc.
– Hold a gently used winter clothing drive (coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, etc). Have your cheerleaders raid their closets, and family members too, for last years items that may be outgrown and in good shape. Take clothing donations for a set number of weeks and then make a big trip to drop everything off at a local church or organization (Salvation Army) that distributes them to families in need.
7. Be elves for a Christmas Cheer Program.
– Every year on the second Saturday of December our local department store is filled with kids and law enforcement for the Shop-with-a-Cop program. They start with breakfast first, then hit the isles. They always need volunteers to help the kids select toys, games, and clothes, as well as serve and clean up breakfast. We also have a Christmas Cheer program run by the fire department, in which they deliver food and gifts for children to the family’s home. Put on your Santa hats and get out there and help!
8. Adopt a family.
– Contact churches or job and family services to see if there is a family in your community that needs adopted for the holidays. Have each team in your gym responsible for one section of the list such as; food, winter clothes, toys, toiletries, tree, etc.
9. Visit kids at the hospital.
– If you have a children’s hospital in your area, consider donating some time visiting sick children who won’t be at home for the holidays. Providing on what is allowed, you may able to do this similar to the nursing home with caroling and cookies (or perhaps a small gift). Dress up and make it festive.
10. Angel Tree.
– Have your cheerleaders meet you at a local department store that has an angel tree. Each cheerleader will need to bring a set amount of money, depending on the size of your teams this will vary ($5-$10). Select one Angel per team to sponsor and enjoy shopping together as a team for the child you have selected.
These are just a few of the many ways you can help out your community. Check with your Chamber of Commerce, YMCA’s, churches, and other non-profit organizations to see where you can be of assistance. Happy Holidays!
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