Golden Coconut Winner - 2009

San Antonio Parrot Head Club

After several “Trips Around the Sun”, while still searching for that “ One Particular Harbor ”, our Club has continued to grow and expand with the motto of “We Party with a Purpose.”  This year has been one of our most successful years ever.  We’ve expanded our charities, increased charitable donations; both in hours donated and in monetary form, while adding 77 new club members.  We’ve taken the “I can” approach to “we are making it happen” while finding great satisfaction in helping others and enjoying the camaraderie of our dedicated, fun-loving Parrot Heads.  We have navigated our way to be a truly charitable, social organization with a “tropical state of mind”. 

Since some Parrot Heads from time to time suffer a bit of memory loss, supporting the Alzheimer’s Association seemed a natural for us.  All kidding aside, numerous members have had parents, relatives and friends afflicted by this terrible disease, and this past year we have made a concerted effort to support this great organization.  We have had numerous raffles, fund raisers and established a super team for the Alzheimer’s Walk to help in raising donations.  Additionally, we added a “Chinese Raffle” to our major fundraising party that was particularly successful.  At our clubs’ beach weekend, we had a “toe nail painting” and raised more than $200 for the charity.  Through all the hard work, we raised $4,185 during this past year for our Alzheimer’s Association Memory walk team.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has been and continues to be one of our “featured charities”.  Over the years we have raised over $16,000 for this important foundation, including participation in Walks for the Cure and other fundraisers.  We donated $1200 from auctions at our birthday party this year. 

With the tough economy, many families are having a hard time making it day to day, so we’ve added extra emphasis on our work with the local Food Bank.  Last year, we began working weekends to help them box and bag food that is delivered to needy families in addition to collecting donations.  This bagging is a fun event; we play Tropical Rock music in the background while making new friends and helping others.  We have found it most gratifying that quite a few Parrot Head family members are volunteering for this effort.  Seeing “Parakeets” volunteering gives us a tremendous sense of pride that the next generation will be just as charitable as ours.  At the last volunteer session, Parrot Heads bagged more than 10,000 pounds of beans and rice.  During another session, we stuffed more than 500 boxes of food for needy families, and we estimate we have donated more than 1,000 pounds of food items.  In addition, our fund raising efforts enabled us to donate two checks totaling $2,200 for Food Bank use.  Our Food Bank estimates that with every $1 donated, they can turn that into $13 of food for the needy.  Our monetary donation could equate to more than $20,000 worth of Food Bank provisions.

“The weather is here, wish you were beautiful” is a great lead into our version - “The weather is here, wish it were cooler”.  It has been a hot year in our “Harbor” and a lot of less fortunate elderly people are having a hard time keeping cool.  We added a local “project cool” to our support activities.  So far this year, we have donated 49 fans and more than $220 to the local United Way Catholic Charities to distribute fans to the needy during the hot summer. 

Helping families and children has always been an important part of our Club’s activities.  While the song says “we need less bakers….more fruitcakes in this world”, we are very proud of our bakers/members supporting The Ronald McDonald House activities.  Monthly we have a group of our talented ladies (some gentlemen too!) get together and bake 28 dozen cookies per month, totaling 336 dozen cookies this year helping families in a difficult situation.  Additionally, our club collects aluminum tab tops to turn in during our monthly Happy Hours.  So far this year, we have collected more than 10 pounds of tab tops for Ronald McDonald house

We’re so happy that not only Parrot Head Clubs, but the entire nation is looking for ways to improve our environment.  Our local effort supporting the State’s Adopt-a-Highway Program has kept a two-mile stretch of highway outside a local military installation “as clean as it’s been in years”, stated one nonmember.  Quarterly, we gather together on a Saturday morning to “pitch in for Green”.  We usually average between 25-35 bags of trash on this busy highway.  All told, we put in almost 300 hours of time this last year keeping litter in check. 

Not only do we have our hot days, we also have cool/cold days and nights, which is why we’ve teamed with a local ministry organization to donate clothes and especially coats to the homeless in the winter months.  Our coat drive last year netted more than 58 new or nearly new coats and six bags of warm clothes for those less fortunate.  Additionally, we earmarked $100 for the ministries use this year from one of our prizes the club earned.

We not only try to assist our brethren, we also help out our canine friends.  For many years we have adopted a local dog rescue program to support.  Four times a year one of our Happy Hours is selected as our “cause for paws”.  Members donate food, cleaning supplies and money to this local effort.  Last year our members donated more than $300 and 1,000 pounds of food and supplies for rescue of unwanted or abused dogs.

During December each year we have one of our most fun volunteer events.  We are part of a large team of organizations that provide Christmas cheer for those less fortunate.  Our club meets at a local warehouse where we form teams to wrap Christmas presents for needy children.  We have our favorite Buffett Christmas CD blasting while we wrapped presents for more than 75 families, donating 93 hours to this fun charity.  The organizers look forward to us coming each year because we really enjoy the spirit of the event.  Approximately two weeks later, 18 of us gathered together in six teams totaling 70 hours to deliver the presents.  One team member dresses as “Santa”, one is the “Elf” and the other is the driver/logistics person. Each team drives from home to home delivering these special gifts. It is extremely satisfying to see the looks on the children’s faces, and the parents too, when Santa delivers presents that might not have been available for the appreciative children each year.

We are not only a charitable organization; we are also about having fun.  We are extremely proud of our effort this year on bringing in Tropical Rock musicians to provide club members a better appreciation for the amount of top notch performers that are supporting the Parrot Head Nation and help boost our members’ participation in events.  In the past, we may have brought in an out-of-town performer for our birthday party only.  To date, we have provided our Phlock the opportunity to hear seven outside performers/groups.  Our venues have included special Happy Hours, regular Happy Hours, our birthday party, our “Phlocking to the Beach” and house parties.  It gives us a chance to get together and enjoy our “like mindedness” while hearing some exceptional entertainers.

One of the more enjoyable social challenges we’ve engaged in is not only how we have been able to get our members involved in our own club, but also  getting them involved in other club’s activities.  Our numbers show more than 100 members attending club functions outside our own. This number easily doubled our number from previous years.  This attendance benefits the attendees, other club’s charities, and our own club by bringing back ideas on how to make our club better and increase our community service activities.  We joined in with our region at a special tailgate party before a Jimmy Buffett concert and were a partner club for a regional event.  We hosted a PHIP Region Leaders Meeting in our fair city and our own leaders are anxious to put in place what was learned.   We have increased awareness of the Parrot Head nation’s activities to our members and have been fortunate to be a recognized, featured club on two different national Parrot Head friendly websites. 

As you have gathered in reviewing our input, we are extremely proud of our achievements this year.  We have increased our membership to a record level.  Our monetary donations to charitable organizations have more than doubled as have our hours volunteered.  Our members have been very active in supporting not only our Club, but other Clubs in and outside the region.  Because of this year’s accomplishments and the club members’ enthusiasm with “Partying with a Purpose”, we feel that we embody those qualities that make our club worthy of the PHIP Golden Coconut Award and hope that you agree.