EveryStep's Cheer Box Program Receives Technological Boost

Pictured above (L) EveryStep Grief & Loss Services' Amanda the Panda director Ashley Mori (second from right) and program assistant Amanda Fagen (far right) explain EveryStep's Cheer Box program to members of dsmHack. 

EveryStep Grief & Loss Services’ Cheer Box program reached more than 650 families and individuals grieving the loss of a loved one during the 2021 holiday season. Individual and corporate donors stepped up to the challenge when Cheer Boxes, two EveryStep vehicles, and more were stolen or damaged during a burglary at our Cheer Box assembly location last year. Because of the overwhelming outpouring of support from individual and corporate donors, EveryStep was able to replace or repair the stolen vehicles, replenish the Cheer Boxes that were stolen and even increase the number of boxes delivered.

This year’s Cheer Box program is expected to reach even more grieving families and individuals, thanks to a technological boost last month.

In June, EveryStep Grief & Loss Services was selected by dsmHack for its annual 48-hour Des Moines Hack, where technologists lend their expertise and resources to help nonprofits like EveryStep address challenges. The result? Upgrading the 11-stage Cheer Box process from manual entries in a very large spreadsheet to a QR code generator that allows the entire process to be navigated simply by scanning the code. These technological efficiencies will enable the Cheer Box program – which began decades ago as a special service of EveryStep’s Amanda the Panda program – to continue to grow.

“This is just awesome,” says EveryStep Grief & Loss Services director Ashley Mori. “This is going to have a huge impact as we increase the number of Cheer Boxes we’re able to process and deliver, and help more people.” EveryStep Cheer Boxes are a holiday box of 12, family-friendly gifts that go out to families and individuals that have felt the pain of losing a loved one during the past year. During the holiday season, EveryStep wants to remind them that they have our support and care.

Nominations for 2022 Cheer Box recipients are now open. Each Cheer Box contains special, individually wrapped gifts meant to provide comfort during the holidays, which can be especially challenging for those grieving the loss of a loved one. To nominate someone to receive a cheer box, click here.

If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at www.everystep.org/find-care. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.