Choir Cares program sparks community of giving

The Choir Cares program created by director Mr. Clint Pianalto has reached several kids and families in the community, especially around Christmas time. The program, created a decade ago, started small and has recently transformed into one that has generated and given back almost $30,000.

According to Pianalto, the program started with simple school fundraisers that taught choir students about the importance of community service while benefiting kids from their own school. The Angel Tree program has become an annual tradition for Choir Cares. The program, created by the Salvation Army, helps provide Christmas gifts for hundreds of thousands of children around the U.S. every year, according to their website. The program works by sending the Christmas list of registered children to donors in the community, like Choir Cares.

“We just started to get the kids involved in small projects like a couple of canned food drives and adopting a couple angels for christmas time,” Pianalto said. “It’s just a chance for our kids to think actively about how they can help the community.”

As the years have gone on, the Choir Cares program has only grown and expanded to make even more of a difference. Specifically, it has caught the attention of the parents of choir students who have been inspired to help.

“A parent thought it was awesome and dropped us a $1600 check, and we ended up helping 21 kids that year,” Pianalto said. “That same parent came back and hit us with a $15000 donation.”

The program doesn’t just spark up around the season of giving. It is willing to help anyone in the community at any time.

“We’ve provided a school store here where we buy hoodies and sweatshirts and shoes for kids,” Pianalto said. “We’ve turned on lights when parents were deported. We have paid rent for families that have fallen on hard luck.”

The students that have been most influential in the Choir Cares program have been the ones who see similar stories to their own in the families they’re helping.

“The kids that have helped the most have easily been the kids that have been angels themselves,” said Pianalto. “When we take the kids to go shopping, I’ve always had a kid that was a former angel shopping for other kids because they know the worth and how beneficial it is for those kids.”