Christmas is still four months away, but three area sports teams are already helping an Independence program that focuses on providing Christmas presents for families in need.

Christmas is still four months away, but three area sports teams are already helping an Independence program that focuses on providing Christmas presents for families in need.

The Independence School District is partnering with the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Missouri Mavericks to raise funds for Holiday Helpers, an assistance program geared toward families not served by other community organizations such as the Salvation Army or Community Services League. In exchange for volunteer hours, families have the opportunity to “shop” for their children in order to provide Christmas presents.

For the fundraiser, each team supports a special Holiday Helpers game. Tickets can be purchased at a discount with the chance to win prizes from the teams. In addition, a portion of the ticket prices will go toward the Holiday Helpers program.

“I think people are going to be really excited about this fundraiser,” said Nancy Lewis, public information director of the school district. “They can attend some really exciting games and support a good cause at the same time.”

The three games are:

Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians – 6:10 p.m. Sept. 18 Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – noon Oct. 24 Missouri Mavericks vs. Tulsa Oilers – 7:05 p.m. Nov. 5.

A district tailgate will precede both the Royals and Chiefs games, weather permitting. Because each team has its own rules for purchasing tickets, the district will send updates as to how community members can get involved in each event, beginning with the Royals. Chiefs sign-up will be in September with the Mavericks to follow later.

To purchase tickets for the Royals, visit the Royals’ website at www.royals.com/isd. Because the Royals’ system for purchasing fundraising tickets online can be confusing, the team has provided a PowerPoint to help explain the ordering process. The tutorial can be found at the district’s website www.ourindependenceschools.org.

All tickets are discounted $10 and depending what seat is chosen, $7 or $11 per ticket goes directly to Holiday Helpers. In addition, to RSVP for the tailgate party prior to the baseball game, e-mail Penny Adams at penny_adams@indep.k12.mo.us by Sept. 1. The district will provide hot dogs, hamburgers and chips. Any side dishes and beverages must be brought by the family.

“We were wanting to partner with the sports teams in some way,” Lewis said.

“When we approached them, they were very interested in supporting a program that makes such a difference for children and families. We think this will be a real win, win for everyone.”