ARLINGTON — Arlington Youth Cheer started the month of December with a burst of seasonally spirited giving, by buying slightly more than $2,000 worth of food, toys, clothing and blankets for the Arlington Community Food Bank.
According to Arlington Youth Cheer Board member Michelle Sjolund, the total of $2,001.18 that five cheerleaders and six of her own fellow Board members spent at Walmart on Sunday, Dec. 1, got them 86 turkeys, 150 cans of fruit, 75 bags of brown sugar and 44 fleece blankets, as well as an assortment of toys, hats and mittens.
“Our former treasurer embezzled thousands of dollars from our league, and was charged and prosecuted by Snohomish County,” Sjolund said. “Prior to that, large donations from the Arlington Youth Football Association and our community kept us afloat. It is now our honor to give back to our community.”
“Community groups, parents and Board members donated to us in our time of need,” Arlington Youth Cheer Director Heather Tryon said. “Since we were paid back most of what was stolen, we wanted to donate those funds back to the community. When the money was originally donated to us to keep our program going, most of it was donated in a single afternoon in October of 2011, at a youth football game with help from Arlington Youth Football Association. The stolen funds were paid back to us about nine months later.”
Tryon explained that Arlington Youth Cheer Board members contacted the Arlington Community Food Bank to determine which items they needed most.
“What I hope our girls learn from this is that communities help each other,” Tryon said. “We teach these girls to be leaders in their community. We also wanted to keep the donated funds in Arlington, and the Food Bank seemed like a great organization to help, especially during the holidays.”
The Arlington Youth Cheer members’ shopping trip does not mark the end of their contributions to the Arlington Community Food Bank, however, since Tryon expects that nearly two dozen cheerleaders and their parents could be putting in personal appearances at the Food Bank later this month, to help pack the meals to which they contributed, and serve them to the Food Bank’s holiday clients.