About 6 months ago, I met with our team parents about hosting our annual meet. Every year we have a different theme to unify the whole meet and decorate. As I sat with the parents that night someone suggested a food drive as a theme, and someone else said it could tie in with a huge raffle to incentivize donation. It was brainstorming at it’s finest. Fast forward 6 months and we are hosting the “With A Star On Top” invite: A meet with a cause. Guests were encouraged to donate canned goods and boxed food by rewarding their generosity with a raffle ticket for making the donation. Lake Owen Gymnastics Camp donated a week of camp to raffle off, a $750 value, and the food rolled in.

The week prior to the meet our pre-school director Sue added goods brought in by class kids to the donation. Little Tykes used canned food as weights for muscle building and other fun things and afterward put them into the donation boxes. Our class families were overwhelmingly generous and it was heart warming.

In these times, when some of us are doing fine, it’s important to remember that some of us are not doing fine. People gave from the heart and they gave plenty. More over they told their kids why it was important to share. What a great opportunity to teach our children such a valuable lesson.

The meet was a success. Over 360 gymnasts, over 1200 spectators. It started Saturday afternoon and ran until later on Sunday. It was a  load of work and the kids trained so hard to do well at their home meet. They were focused on the gymnastics, of course. But it was great to see how they also took the charitable aspect of the event to heart. As the food came in the front door it was brought in for display under the “Giving Tree” until we ran out of room. We scrambled for empty boxes to store it. I overheard one team gymnast say to another, “look at all this food people are bringing, isn’t that cool?”  I remember thinking, regardless of the meet outcome, we just won.

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