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November 28, 2022

Easton Kids Holiday Gift Drive: A Tradition Of Sharing

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Easton Kids Holiday Gift Drive: A Tradition Of Sharing

It’s time for our annual Easton Training Center Kids Holiday Gift Drive benefitting the Children’s Hospital! This year’s drive will make our eighth one to date, having started Christmas of 2014, and it’s a genuine way to extend our wonderful community’s generosity beyond the walls of our academies.

Each academy will have a tree set up, and you can turn gifts in by Thursday, December 22nd if you want to participate!

The Facts:

What: Each Easton Training Center academy puts up a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, on which we hang paper cut outs of ornaments with a gift idea and the corresponding estimated price for that gift. Students and staff can choose a gift that they’re able to afford, and they bring it in (unwrapped) to the front desk. On December 23rd, all of the gifts are delivered to Children’s Hospital!

When: Easton’s gift drive starts the day after Thanksgiving, and ends on December 22nd. The gifts are then delivered to Children’s Hospital on the 23rd by anyone who wants to participate.

Where: Each academy has their own tree set up for their own students!

Who receives the gifts: Everything goes directly to the residents at Children’s Hospital.  Make sure to check out the list at the bottom of this post to know what sorts of gifts we’re looking for!

Spreading the love

This gift drive is a very special opportunity for us to bring some sense of normalcy and joy to the lives of children, who in many cases due to no fault of their own, are suffering. We asked one of the drive’s founding members, Easton Training Center Vice President Ian Lieberman, to share some words on what makes it so special.

Ian Lieberman

“When I was in high school, one of the most vivid and transformational memories I have was when our hockey team participated in a charity drive called Toys for Tots,” says Ian.

“I don’t remember much of what happened last week, but I remember the day we dropped those toys off almost 25 years ago like it was yesterday.”

Moments like these are what ultimately stick with us the most and inspire us to continue those experiences into our adulthood, bringing countless others in until the effort is so vast that nobody really knows how it began — nor does it matter. What matters is that we continue showing up to do our part, knowing that any little thing we do can help.

“I’ll never forget how happy and appreciative those kids were,” says Ian of his hockey team’s charity drive, “and how grateful their parents were for our efforts.”

“It was the first time I consciously recognized my tendency to routinely squander the endless opportunities I had to be grateful for my own station in life, and it was the first time in my life I felt truly useful.”

Every small bit counts

We fully share Ian’s sentiment that Easton’s community is, without a doubt, one of “the most kind-hearted, selfless and altruistic collection of people” we’ve ever been a part of. This was why Ian knew, when he helped launch the gift drive that first year in 2014, that together we could do something really special. 

ETC Boulder GM Matt Bloss with Children’s Hospital staff December 2021.

Easton’s annual gift drive has led to over $300K in total gifts given by all of its schools over the last seven years. We don’t share this to pat ourselves on the back — we share this so that you, our readers and members, can see how much you’ve done together, how much collectively we can do and the power we have when we join efforts.

In 2016, Easton Denver alone raised $5K, and we’ve seen much more traction over the years as we’ve continued with the drives, bringing Easton Denver’s donation north of $8K last year. The goal is never a number, but numbers can show us how our collective efforts have grown and why it’s so important to continue these endeavors.

It can be easy to forget how lucky we are. Most of us who train at Easton Training Center have the financial means to do so, or we’re blessed with the opportunity to either coach, work or do a trade in exchange for membership.  It’s not often that we come face-to-face with a world where suffering becomes a new normal, and sometimes confronting this suffering can serve as a stark reminder to be grateful for our own station in life.

Every year around this time, Ian thinks of the saying “Healthy people have a thousand wishes, while sick people only have one.” 

We hope that walking into Children’s Hospital to deliver these toys will always serve as a powerful reminder to appreciate our own luck, and how, literally overnight, anyone’s luck can change.

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