When local community service events got bigger than ever, local high school sports teams stepped up to the plate.
One of my favorite assignments of any given year falls right around this time, when I check out what some of our area high school sports teams are doing to give back to the community for the holidays.
It’s not that we don’t often see charitable acts like that. The Plant City area has no shortage of folks who will go above and beyond to help those less fortunate have what they want and need for the holidays. What makes me feel good about it is knowing the next generations are learning firsthand how wonderful it is to give to people who can’t always receive.
This year, in particular, was awesome because of how much bigger certain events have gotten.
Christmas Lane’s decision to partner with Cater Tampa and Durant High School’s football and baseball programs to provide a new venue for their annual gift-giving party for children in the foster care system took what was already a great event and turned it into something special that comfortably fit more people than ever before. I saw plenty of eyes light up and smiles beam wide when kids wandered the halls of Christmas Lane to check out the massive displays, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and munch on delicious-smelling cookies. The Durant coaches and athletes were just as stoked, and they were the ones doing the hard work and heavy lifting instead of unwrapping gifts for themselves.
Speaking of getting bigger than ever, I also went to the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Seffner last week for Strawberry Crest baseball’s annual Christmas dinner party and you couldn’t move in that place without bumping into somebody. The team took on the responsibility of helping more local kids than ever before and knocked it out of the park. Team alumni and families even came out to show their support. The enthusiasm of head coach Eric Beattie and Chargers past and present was contagious.
Those were just the events I was able to attend. There’s always more going on before, during and after Christmastime. No matter the size, each act of service makes a big difference for someone in this small town.
If you run some kind of charitable organization in town and are reading this, I have a suggestion: call up our local high school teams when you need help with a project, event or anything of the sort. We’ve got kids and coaches out here who will jump at the chance to help out and work hard from start to finish.
If you run a team and are working on a project, reach out. I love to cover these things and try to write something whenever I hear about them, as I did this week and in the past. Stories like these go to show our readers and maybe even some from out of town who stumble upon us that the kids are, in fact, alright. Positive vibes are always welcome in the Plant City Observer.
Thanks to efforts like these, Christmas for many around town was far better than it could have been. That’s living up to the holiday spirit.
I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and has a happy New Year.