Residents came out to celebrate the seventh annual Cheerful Giving celebration on Main Street in downtown Merced last Sunday. The event was coordinated by local barbers Yader Zeledon, Joey-O, and Seneca Lopez; Nicole Lopez of Nicole Lopez Media, and David Padilla from Merced Cruz Knights. They all sit on the Barbers and Businesses Give Back Committee.
Cheerful Giving is all about giving back to the community that enriches and cultivates the city of Merced. Free haircuts, toys, hot chocolate, burgers, hot dogs, raffles, entertainment, and even a car giveaway were the highlight of the event.
There were also special appearances from SpongeBob SquarePants, the Minions, Chase the Dog, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
“It has grown so much bigger since we first started,” Lopez said of the community festivities. “We always go out and look for businesses that want to give back and help out our community. Then, we throw the biggest Christmas party for the kids. Everything is free.”
In its first year of celebration, Cheerful Giving was able to raffle off 10 bikes to deserving kids, and now in its seventh year, organizers were able to gift more than 200 bikes.
Lines formed outside tents that stood on either sides of Main St. as children played games in order to win wrapped prizes and candy from local participating businesses.
The grassy areas of Bob Hart Square were squared off with yellow tape as bikes and scooters of different sizes and colors filled the area, awaiting their owners.
Fifteen barber chairs were lined up against one side of Main Street as volunteer barbers clipped, shaved, and styled the hair of awaiting participants.
“Our goal is always 300 haircuts, but I am sure we’ll surpass the total this year,” Lopez said. “We might even get to 500 this year!”
Former Merced City Councilman Josh Pedroza read the children’s book “How to Capture an Elf,” and Pastor Daniel Sarmiento of Atwater’s Hope Church led the crowd in prayer.
In the end, Cheerful Giving provided more than 400 haircuts, 200 bikes, and 4,000 hamburgers and hotdogs combined to local residents.
“It was an all-over success, and we are already critiquing and planning for next year,” Lopez concluded.
Cheerful Giving is held every year by Barbers and Business Give Back with contributions from local sponsors. Sponsorship for the 2020 Cheerful Giving will be $300 with proceeds going towards buying kids 10 and under bikes. Sponsor names will be broadcasted on fliers and event banners. For more information on the event, contact Nicole Lopez at [email protected]