Holiday Spirit Unites Iowa Company in Cheer Box Grief Support Efforts

Pictured above: (L) Valerie Cibula, SHAZAM communications manager and (R) Crista Herbert, SHAZAM media relations coordinator.

It takes many hands and caring hearts to assemble, wrap and deliver EveryStep’s Cheer Boxes that will be presented to individuals and families across Iowa this holiday season. Volunteers reported to EveryStep’s wrapping location to fill dozens of shifts and several companies around the Des Moines metro hosted wrapping events at their locations.

EveryStep Cheer Boxes are a holiday box of 12, specially chosen gifts that go 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. The Cheer Box program is a long-standing tradition and one of many grief and loss support services offered through EveryStep’s Amanda the Panda program.

SHAZAM Inc., a nationwide provider of financial services based in Des Moines, dedicated an entire day to wrapping Cheer Boxes at their offices. Employees were encouraged to sign up for shifts throughout the work day. “SHAZAM is really great when it comes to supporting community events and meaningful work like this,” says SHAZAM Communications Manager Valerie Cibula. “It’s very special to be helping someone through the holidays, which can be very difficult for those who have lost a loved one.”

Valerie participated in Cheer Box wrapping last year and was excited to have the same opportunity this holiday season. “It’s just fun. It’s fun to reconnect and build rapport. We take a lot of pride in the community events we’re involved with.”

“It’s heartwarming to know that you could be making a difference in somebody’s life as they’re going through the grieving process,” adds Crista Herbert, a new SHAZAM employee who coordinates media relations. “All the stickers that go on the gifts to explain the meaning behind each was really touching. It was a really neat experience. I’m glad I got to participate.”

This holiday season, 775 Cheer Boxes will be delivered to grieving individuals and families throughout Iowa. Donations for the program are accepted year-round at (Choose Grief & Loss Services/Amanda the Panda from the drop-down menu). To learn how to nominate someone to receive a Cheer Box during the 2023 holiday season, email For information about EveryStep’s free grief support services, visit

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 EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.