First Lady Tonette Walker

Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay benefits from Packers fans' 'cheers'

By: Jim Matthews, Green Bay Press Gazette
Friday, April 8, 2011

Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay play a parachute game Thursday at the Oneida Street location. The club received a $25,000 donation from Coca-Cola that resulted from a Super Bowl promotion.

Gov. Scott Walker and first lady Tonette Walker visited the west-side Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay on Thursday to help the kids celebrate a $25,000 donation to the club from The Coca-Cola Co.

The club received the money because Green Bay Packers fans submitted thousands of "Coke Cheers" during Super Bowl week as part of a promotional contest by the soda maker.

Coca-Cola recently presented a similar check to the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsburgh for the same reason, but as Walker pointed out, the big difference in the presentation event was that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett had to wear a Packers jersey, while Walker got to wear his suit.

The two governors had made a "friendly wager" before the game, which the Packers won.

"It's fun," Walker told reporters after the check presentation. "I'm glad I'm not wearing a Pittsburgh jersey."

Coca-Cola asked football fans to visit the website www.cokecheers .com and send a "virtual cheer" to their favorite team and local boys & Girls Clubs.

Every cheer triggered a donation that resulted in a $100,000 check to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The two Super Bowl team communities received additional $25,000 in donations.

The money will support the club's Triple Play program, a national program created by the club and Coca-Cola to help kids eat healthier, become more physically active and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships.

Rick Junion, Distribution Center Manager for Coca-Cola in GreenBay , presented the check. Along with the Walkers, state Sens. Rob Cowles, R-Allouez, and Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, also were on hand.

Walker praised the Triple Play program for encouraging participants to improve their minds, bodies and character.

After the check presentation, the Walkers participated as club members played and demonstrated some of the Triple Play games that encourage physical activity.

Jose Lopez, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Franklin Middle School, said he'd never met a governor before Thursday.

"He's nice," Lopez said of Walker.

John Benberg, executive director of the Green Bay club, said the money will help pay for staff wages, healthy snacks and play equipment.

The club has about 7,000 registered members in the Green Bay area and has a daily attendance of about 700 children, ages 7-18, during the school year. Benberg said. Coca-Cola has a 65-year relationship with the national club, Junion said.