Birmingham-based Cheeriodicals kicks off nationwide donation campaign with 130 backpacks for local students


Alabama Launchpad / Cheeriodicals / Sonic Automotive / EchoPark
Members of Sonic Automotive and EchoPark Automotive hand delivered backpacks to students at Henry J. Oliver Elementary in Birmingham. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

On Thursday, August 3rd, members of Birmingham-based Cheeriodicals—a past Alabama Launchpad winner—and Sonic Automotive/EchoPark met to hand-deliver 130 Cheeriodicals backpacks to Henry J. Oliver Elementary. The donation is part of a campaign to deliver more than 2,500 Cheeriodicals backpacks to students at 30+ under-resourced schools across the country.

Read on to learn more about Cheeriodicals, Sonic Automotive/Echo Park and how they teamed up to support students across the country!

What are Cheeriodicals?

Alabama Launchpad / Cheeriodicals / Sonic Automotive / EchoPark
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Not familiar with Cheeriodicals? Founded in 2011, Cheeriodicals is a one-of-a-kind corporate team building experience focused on bringing Cheeriodicals (“cheer” + “periodicals”) to those in need. Cheeriodicals partners with hundreds of businesses around the world, building camaraderie among their team while making a difference for those who could use a dose of cheer.

Since 2011, 100,000+ people have participated in Cheeriodicals team building events, packing and delivering more than 145,000 Cheeriodicals to:

  • Hospitalized kids
  • Hospitalized Veterans
  • Ronald McDonald House residents
  • Frontline hospital workers
  • Cancer and home infusion patients
  • Assisted Living residents
  • Dialysis patients
  • And more!

Winning Alabama Launchpad

Gary and Mary Martha Parisher, left, with Gov. Robert Bentley, center, who presented them with a check for $43,250 for Cheeriodicals’ performance in Alabama Launchpad. (Cheeriodicals)

In 2014, Cheeriodicals won an Alabama Launchpad pitch competition, securing $43,250 in non-dilutive startup funding from the state’s most active early-stage seed fund investor. At the time of their Alabama Launchpad win, Cheeriodicals was just three years old and had held team-building events with 8-10 clients. However, awareness of Cheeriodicals spread during the Launchpad competition, bringing new opportunities to work with exciting businesses in Alabama and beyond.

“The money was great, but it was never the main draw for us. More than anything else, Alabama Launchpad was an opportunity to learn from the judges and other participants, solidify our business plan and grow as a company. To us, winning at Alabama Launchpad was validation that we were on the right track as a company.”

Gary Parisher, President + CEO, Cheeriodicals

Since their Alabama Launchpad win, Cheeriodicals’ client list has grown to more than 200 of the largest companies in the world, including Alabama-based companies like including Alabama Power, Royal Cup coffee, Regions Bank, US Pipe, Renasant Bank and more.

Alabama Launchpad’s Cycle 2 2023 Finale takes place in Auburn, Alabama on Thursday, August 17th. Learn more + get your tickets to this event—you don’t want to miss it!

Delivering backpacks for students at under-resourced schools

Alabama Launchpad / Cheeriodicals / Sonic Automotive / EchoPark
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

In 2021, Sonic Automotive/EchoPark partnered with Cheeriodicals to donate 800 Cheeriodicals to hospitalized children in more than a dozen children’s hospitals across the country. Thrilled with the results, Sonic Automotive teamed up with Cheeriodicals again in 2022 to deliver 1,200 Cheeriodicals to hospitalized Veterans nationwide.

 “First, it’s was 800 kids in the hospital, then 1,200 veterans. Now we’re helping 2,500 kids in under-resourced schools. We’re thrilled to work with Sonic Automotive again.”

Gary Parisher, President + CEO, Cheeriodicals
Alabama Launchpad / Cheeriodicals / Sonic Automotive / EchoPark
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Now in their partnership’s third consecutive year, Sonic/EchoPark requested a new, custom-designed Cheeriodical backpack for students at under-resourced schools.

“Our team spent a lot of time calling all 37 schools to see what their kids need. A lot of their needs are basic school supplies—rulers, crayons, magic markets, number 2 pencils, etc. Another thing we’ve added is a copy of an educational magazine called Chirp that has a ton of extra educational topics for students.”

Gary Parisher, President + CEO, Cheeriodicals

In addition, each child will receive a winter hat, mitten and a Cheeriodicals’ stuffed animal frog inside their backpack.

Starting with Birmingham’s Oliver Elementary

Alabama Launchpad / Cheeriodicals / Sonic Automotive / EchoPark
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Over the past few weeks, Sonic Automotive/EchoPark teams from all over the country have packed more than 2,500 of these custom Cheeriodicals backpacks destined for students at 37 schools nationwide. Their first destination? Birmingham’s own Oliver Elementary. On Thursday night, members of Sonic Automotive/EchoPark and Cheeriodicals attended parent/teacher night at Oliver Elementary to hand-deliver Cheeriodicals backpacks to students.

“The Cheeriodicals donations are amazing—I’m so excited for our boys and girls. With these backpacks, our scholars are truly ready for their first day of school. Their parents don’t have to worry about making sure their children have enough pencils and paper; they have everything they need to be successful on their very first day. I want to make sure that every child has what they need to succeed here at Oliver Elementary, and this gift means so much to us.”

Tamara Burney, Principal of Oliver Elementary School.

Alabama Launchpad Cycle 3 Applications open August 7

Alabama Launchpad / Cheeriodicals / Sonic Automotive / EchoPark
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

See the next generation of Alabama startups at Alabama Launchpad’s Cycle 2 2023 Finale in Auburn, Alabama on Thursday, August 17th. Learn more + get your tickets to this event.

“No matter where you are as a company, Alabama Launchpad is a fantastic opportunity to discuss your marketing, branding, awareness and more with experienced mentors. Even if you don’t win the competition, Alabama Launchpad provides free management consulting that is invaluable to startups and entrepreneurs.”

Gary Parisher, President + CEO, Cheeriodicals

Just as with Cheeriodicals, the Alabama Launchpad team wants to help grow your idea into Alabama’s next big thing. Applications to Alabama Launchpad’s Cycle 3 2023 open on August 7th! Click here to begin your application to Alabama Launchpad.

Sponsored by:

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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