With help from Santa Claus and Charlotte Motor Speedway’s mascot Lug Nut, members of Speedway Children’s Charities Charlotte chapter’s Board of Trustees and staff visited area nonprofits earlier this week delivering holiday cheer and grant funding to organizations making a direct impact on the lives of children in need. In total, SCC Charlotte will distribute $406,000 in grants this year to 38 deserving charities located throughout the region. The recipient organizations serve more than 28,000 area children facing challenges ranging from learning disabilities and broken homes to childhood cancer.
On Tuesday, SCC volunteers and staff visited three of this year’s recipients, The Learning Collaborative, Piedmont Residential Development Center and The Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County. Santa Claus and Lug Nut joined the festivities, passing out toys, candy canes and plenty of Christmas cheer.
“Today we were privileged by Speedway Children’s Charities to be visited by Santa and Lug Nut and staff members to be presented with charities money to help our school,” said Veronica Smith of The Learning Collaborative. “The smiles on children’s faces as they came in… eyes beaming, it’s great for all of us. It’s why we’re here – just pouring into the children, lightening their day and making this a joyous holiday season.”
Standing on a patch of grass inside the fenced yard at Piedmont Residential Development Center, Program Director Sandy Cox shared how the funds would directly impact the children PRDC serves.
“This money is our big stepping stone to start a new playground at PRDC,” Cox said. “This is going to bring normalcy for them. What it means to my babies is freedom. They are going to be able to get out and play like normal kids.”
The event wrapped up a year of fundraising for SCC Charlotte, including drive-in movies, Laps for Charity track rides and providing golf cart shuttles to fans during major race weekends, among other activities.
“Today is the most exciting day of the year,” said Lisa Starnes, executive director of Speedway Children’s Charities. “It’s so special. We work all year long. Fans come and support us. Volunteers spend hours and hours helping us raise this money. It’s all about today. It’s all about the smiles and the tears -- couldn’t get better.”
The Charlotte chapter of SCC is one of seven located at Speedway Motorsports racing facilities across the country. Since inception in 1982, SCC has awarded in excess of $60 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the nation.
“This is where everything really happens,” said Marcus Smith, vice chairman of Speedway Children’s Charities. “We’re grateful to be able to raise money. Sixty million dollars so far from Speedway Children’s Charities is really beyond what we would have guessed would ever have happened 20 years ago, but today we’ve set our sights even higher. We really want to help kids in need.”
For more information on Speedway Children’s Charities or to learn how to volunteer or donate, visit www.speedwaycharities.org.