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Gym Owners Committed to Providing for Children in Need This Holiday Season

December 12, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Iron Flag Fitness
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Fundraising for a greater cause has become part and parcel of owning a CrossFit gym.

At no point is this more evident than during the holiday season, where, year after year, CrossFit gyms use their fitness outside the box to give back to their greater community, especially to children in need.

Here’s what four CrossFit gyms are doing this year to help children in need:

In Pennsylvania: At CrossFit Lumber Capital in Williamsport, PA, gym members connect with a local foster care facility and are given tags for their Angel Tree. Each tag has a child’s name on it with their gift wish list. Members of the gym then select a tag and buy gifts for that child.

  • “It’s really special to be able to give to our community with our community,” said owner Stacey Hertwig, adding that it goes a long way in building a good vibe at her gym. 
  • “Children, especially [those] who have no control over their current environment, should feel loved and get to open a pretty package as well. We’re fortunate enough that we can make that happen. Our members looked forward to the tree going up, and like that, we give them the opportunity to do something just by walking through our doors.”

In Illinois: Kelly and Jared McGriff-Culver’s gym—Iron Flag Fitness in Westmont, IL—is again teaming up with the nonprofit Toys for Tots this holiday season. Their gym has become the home for 10,000-plus toys for the last eight years, and Iron Flag members pack and distribute the toys to 300-plus families in the Chicago area. 

  • “We spend hours sorting the toys based on gender and age. Once the toys are sorted, the fun begins. Our members and local community volunteers come together and start shopping from our families’ wish lists. It’s such an amazing experience,” McGriff-Culver said. 
  • “It is something that our members look forward to every year and truly helps us to live out our mission of giving back to those that have less and being inclusive not just in fitness but in all areas of life,” she added. 
  • In light of this mission to be inclusive and help underserved youth, Iron Flag Fitness will run group classes for juveniles on probation along with their probation offers this January. 

In Northern Ireland: CrossFit TLR in Armagh, Northern Ireland, raised £1345 (USD$1,700), surpassing their goal of £500 last month through a 24-hour WOD-a-thon. They donated the money to Cash for Kids, a charity that provides funds to kids affected by poverty, and Christmas presents to children who might otherwise not receive any.

  • We feel the reason it’s so important as an affiliate owner to give back to charity as none of us know what is around the corner. It could be us looking for that little glimmer of hope next year, and we strongly believe we are only as strong as our community and the people in it,” owner Narelle Purdy said.
  • She added: “Our TLR family brought the energy like they do to every single event we run. They are the heart and soul of everything we do, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. We all dug deep, just like any normal day at TLR, lifting each other up when needed.”

In Massachusetts: At CrossFit Launchpad in Wellesley, MA, their members shop for and deliver gifts to 100 children in need provided to them by the Family Nurturing Center (FNC) of MA. 

  • “It is an incredible day when we deliver the gifts, including bicycles, desks, and more, to these deserving children,” gym owner Ronda Rockett said.

Her gym also raises thousands of dollars each year for the FNC through their gym’s holiday party, which includes a silent auction and Acapella performers from the local high school. Finally, they host a yearly throwdown, which includes a CrossFit-style competition, to fundraise for the FNC.

  • Every athlete in her community knows CrossFit is about “more than burpees and barbells, but at CrossFit Launchpad, our community extends way beyond our own neighborhoods,” Rockett said. 

“Greg Glassman always said, ‘The greatest change in CrossFit is between the ears.’ At CF Launchpad, it’s also between the lungs,” she added.

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