Health Club Exercises Goodwill

Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club (New Jersey) has “adopted” a great program that generates publicity while giving both members and staff the chance to rally around a common, worthwhile cause.

The program is Adopt-A-Family. Administered by New Visions Community Services of Camden County, Adopt-A-Family distributes clothing, food and other items to local homeless or impoverished families. The program also aids individuals who are victims of disaster and other unforeseen circumstances. (Local churches and outreach programs identify those people in need.)

The club has been running and tweaking the program for four years. Most recently, from December through February, the club waived its normal $75 to $125 enrollment fee for all new members who donated five items to Adopt-A-Family.

In the end, members and club staff gave more than 3,000 pieces of clothing, food and toys to the program.

“The program was a win-win situation for everyone involved,” states Brian Kosa, general manager. “New members saved with their start-up fees, while feeling good about giving to a good cause at the same time. Plus they're getting involved in helping themselves with a healthy lifestyle change. It was one of those feel-good programs that really made an impact on all involved.”

In selecting a cause, Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club wanted a program that was local, recognized easily and spanned across all religious denominations, especially around the holidays. “It was important for the items to go locally and that our program extend past the holidays,” Kosa explains. “Community agencies are just as in need after this typical giving period [e.g., Christmas].”

Although the program was meant for new members, it also became popular with current members. When existing members saw people leaving donations in the club's lobby, they began to ask about — and get involved with — the program.

“In spite of the fact that most of the club's members support their own choices of needy agencies, we found everyone wanting to give more,” notes Kosa.

“The generosity of our current members was really quite amazing, especially since we didn't even ask them for donations,” he adds.

And members weren't the only ones who got involved. Staff also got into the giving spirit.

“It can sometimes be frustrating to get staff to embrace a promotion and actively push it,” explains Kosa. “Our staff just really got caught up in this program because members were asking them about it, and a real sense of ownership was created.”

A sense that continues to this day. The Adopt-A-Family program has been, and will continue to be, a tradition at Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club.

“It was an overwhelming success in accomplishing our community partnership goals, helped with our overall sales efforts, and has developed a sense of goodwill amongst our members that makes them proud to belong at Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club,” says Kosa.

For more information about the Adopt-A-Family program, contact Brian Kosa, general manager, at (856) 429-1388, ext. 125.