GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Deltaplex arena was packed on Dec. 19 for the Grand Rapids Drive vs. Iowa Energy basketball game. Fans weren't cheering just for their home team, but for a special cause.
D. A. Blodgett - St. Johns partnered with Allegan pharmaceutical company Perrigo to raise money that will help fund Christmas gifts and other services needed for more than 5,000 abused or neglected children D.A. Blodgett serves.
"Tonight at the drive, we are selling mini basketballs as part of a 50-50 raffle, and fans here have a chance to bid on jerseys," said Jim Paparella, president and CEO of D. A. Blodgett - St. Johns.
"A lot of our families have limited means to provide really nice Christmas gifts," said Paparella. "So we’re really focused on this time of year to make their Christmas as normal and as wonderful as possible."
"It's actually embracing more people, showing them how to give back and creating an awareness around the organization," said Tom Farrington, executive vice president of Perrigo. "That just spreads like wildfire, and we love to see that. It just creates more connection and support for the organization."
For foster parents like Stacey Goodson, the foster care system has changed the way she celebrates Christmas with family.
"There is nothing more rewarding than being able to give them gifts and see them on Christmas morning open up the gifts with big joy in their eyes and smile on their face," said Goodson. "It’s a very rewarding experience."
As Christmas draws near, Goodson is thankful not just for old Christmas traditions but the new ones being introduced into her family.
"There is no better way in my opinion for money to be donated or given to an organization," said Goodson.