Photo and story by Elizabeth (Betsy) Morse
When the Gotham City Cheerleaders picked a disaster relief team to root for, the American Red Cross was the unanimous choice.
The group aspires to become the official cheerleading squad for the New York Giants football team, but in the meantime, they sharpen their skills with tailgate party performances and other appearances.
When Superstorm Sandy hit the New York/New Jersey area, several of the team members and their families were directly affected; the others knew they wanted to help. The team tried to volunteer to raise morale in devastated neighborhoods, but quickly found that many areas were closed to them. So they turned to using their public appearances into fundraisers.
For several weeks, in addition to the rehearsals to polish their routines and the events where they go to support their beloved Giants, the cheerleaders turned their attention to encouraging people to donate to Sandy relief.
“We began collecting the money and then decided we needed to identify who to give it to,” team member Ana DeVillegas said. Initially they wanted to donate to a local group, but they couldn’t agree on one that would benefit the many areas they hail from. “We decided the American Red Cross would be best,” she said.
Some loose change here, a couple of dollars there, a few boisterous boosters who gave more generously…the money started adding up. By the end of their month-long fundraising “season,” they had collected $1,700 for a cause they could all cheer for.