Southern Auto celebrates 30 years of Santa’s Helper program


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Southern Auto Group will be celebrating 30 years of the Santa’s Helper program this weekend with nearly 50 selected kids and their families.

The team will be making the holidays brighter by providing them with a turkey, clothes, and presents based on their Christmas list. The event will be Saturday, Dec. 12 between noon and 2 p.m. at the Southern Buick GMC location in Chesapeake.

The children were pre-selected by three organizations as those “most in need.” The local child-related charity organizations include Edmarc, Children’s Harbor, and Seton House Youth Shelter. Also, 10 of the kids in need whose parents are part of the Southern Auto Group family will benefit from the event as well.  

“This event is truly a blessing to the families because they struggle trying to provide gifts for their children. Having to experience the negative effects of COVID-19 makes things even more financially taxing on the families we serve,” said Wayne C. Bell, Jr., interim chief executive officer for Children’s Harbor.

“Everyone who participates in this event is always impressed with how well it is organized. It means so much to the children to know that their community neighbors care about them. This is certainly a great program and Children’s Harbor is grateful to partner with Southern Auto Group,” he continued.

CFO of Southern Auto Group, Mike King brought Santa’s Helpers to Southern through a service fraternity at Old Dominion University. He and 25 others began the program with help from the Salvation Army to help those underserved kids in the Hampton Roads community.

“I say involved but can’t take credit for organizing it these days. It is spearheaded by entirely by employees. They donate, fund it, and volunteer at the event. They are so committed to it,” said King.

This year because of COVID-19, the event — which is usually a big party with food and entertainment for the kids and their families — will be a drive-thru to pick up the gifts on each kid’s list as well as a turkey for the holiday dinner.

For more information on Southern Auto Group, click here.

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