Thieves have struck a central Iowa organization just as it was gearing up to deliver cheer to those who are facing the holidays without a loved one.
EveryStep CEO Tray Wade, says they were preparing their annual Cheer Boxes that go out to those who have lost a loved one. “Every year we partner with a local business and have volunteers come in and wrap and prepare the boxes — over 600 boxes to be delivered throughout the state and beyond. This year we were partnering with a company in Urbandale, and when we came in this morning we realized the space that we were utilizing had been broken into,” Wade says.
He says the thieves loaded up and left. “They took a number of items out of the boxes — items such as games — they targeted our design keychains that have a special message and out EveryStep information on them. But then they also took some larger items. They stole our delivery truck and our delivery van that we use to deliver the boxes out to the community,” according to Wade. “…they actually ended up even taking the treats and the pop and the coffee that we had set aside for the volunteers who come in and give up their time putting these together.”
Urbandale police are investigating the thefts. Wade says EveryStep is moving forward with plans to complete the deliveries at the end of this month. “We have a resilient team, and I am incredibly proud of how the team has pulled together and said it might take a little bit of extra work and a lot of time and effort be we’re definitely getting these cheer boxes out to people who need them, who have experienced the loss who are going to go through a really tough holiday season,” he says. “We don’t quite know how yet — but we are going to make it happen some way.”
Wade says anyone who wants to help them recover and move forward can do so by donating. “Right now we could really use to be quite honest, just cash donations. If they want to participate and want to support this program, they can go to EveryStep.org if they wanted to donate,” Wade says. He says they may also need some more volunteers to help them catch up in getting the new cheer boxes ready.