Over the past 12 months, the Clark family had collected thousands of dollars worth of toys for around 300 underprivileged children in San Bernardino, California. The plan was to pass out those gifts during an Angel Tree giveaway and holiday party on Thursday, December 20.
This plan almost didn’t come to fruition, after thieves broke in and stole all of the presents the day before the event.
When Victor Poma, a Fitness 19 franchisee with 23 locations, heard about the theft, it tugged on his heart strings.
“My wife and I immediately envisioned the kids’ faces showing up to an event to get the only presents they might get this Christmas, only to see an empty room with no presents,” said Poma. “We thought, ‘There is no way we can let this happen. We have 16 hours to mobilize and make this right so these kids feel the love and joy they deserve.’”
They jumped into action. Poma’s Fitness 19 locations were already in the midst of a toy drive, in which the franchisee had committed to buy an additional toy for every one that was donated.
“So we reallocated the toys we had and committed to buying as many more that were needed to replace the hundreds we were reallocating to this event for these kids,” explained Poma.
As a result of the generosity of both Fitness 19 members and staff, their efforts were a success.
“We were able to step in and replace all of the presents that next day and the kids’ event didn’t skip a beat,” said Poma. “Kids are so precious and their innocence and inability to control their circumstances really impacts me in a way nothing else does. We are so blessed to be able to leverage our scale for the greater good.”
According to Poma, leveraging the scale for the greater good is something every club should strive for.
“In our industry we are blessed to have access to thousands of members who collectively can be so powerful,” said Poma. “When we contribute to our communities, we become part of something that is bigger than ourselves. The smiles and tears of joy make you realize why we’re here: to give.”
Rachel Zabonick is editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.