South Seattle CrossFit’s co-owner, Chris Garceau, is currently on a nine-month deployment in the Middle East. His wife, co-owner and members back in Seattle, Washington, however, are doing their best to make him feel at home by shipping equipment and care-packages overseas.
It started with a 40-week care package campaign. McKenzie Garceau, Chris’ wife and a Coach at the Box, explained she created a sign-up for members to take responsibility of putting together a care-package each week.
“Within a week, all 40 slots were filled,” said McKenzie. And she has made it as easy as possible for members. While they can send over whatever they’d like, McKenzie has priority boxes sitting at the front of the gym, along with a template for how to address the mail.
“Literally, everything is here for them,” said Ryan Sheaffer, the other owner of South Seattle CrossFit.
But, care packages aren’t the only items being sent to the Middle East by the Box. Sheaffer explained Chris’ brother brought to their attention that the base lacked workout equipment.
“Chris, just as he’s apt to do, he’s been the one to lead the charge for his unit, trying to program stuff, but really minus equipment,” said Sheaffer.
The Box’s community banded together to ensure their Coach wasn’t without equipment. Within 36 hours of launching the campaign, South Seattle had raised $2,700. And when a local TV station picked up the story, the total increased to $3,200, which was spent on shipping equipment to Chris’ base.
“Chris is really kind of the heart and soul of this gym, and before he got deployed, he was really the face of our gym. So, it didn’t surprise me that people rallied so quickly to support him because that’s just the environment that we fostered here. And I know it’s probably corny but people really do, the bulk of the members really care about each other inside and outside of the gym,” said Sheaffer.
The logistics behind shipping equipment to a military base are simple. Sheaffer explained they looked at a few different companies, including Rogue Fitness and Again Faster. In fact, he said Rogue has a specific website that will ship to APO/FPO (Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office) addresses.
To successfully fundraise, Sheaffer advised to first identify a need and make it easy. And for him, identifying the need for South Seattle CrossFit’s fundraiser was simple.
“All these service men and women, they’re over there serving our country and obviously away from family and friends and their way of life and in very dangerous situations. So it’s really anything, I think, for them to stay connected to those that they care about, those that they love, back home. So that would be the advice I’d give. Really just focus on that connection,” said Sheaffer. “The human spirit is still alive and strong and I think that if people believe in a cause, they’ll step up.”