Substitutes for Santa community event brings smiles to over 70 kids

Substitutes for Santa community event brings smiles to over 70 kids

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Santa got a break tonight, but local volunteers picked up the slack with the 8th Annual Substitutes for Santa community service event.

Sponsored by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce's gsSCENE for Young Professionals, about 70 underprivileged Loris area children got a shopping experience to brighten their holidays.

Volunteers from various organizations and businesses in the community were paired up with one child Tuesday night.

The event started with with dinner at Ultimate California Pizza Game Zone. The restaurant also made a $4,500 donation to Substitutes for Santa for 2015. Chris Cowen, the restaurant general manager said the entire corporation made the contribution with the help of 15 other restaurants under the parent company.

After dinner, fun and games, the children got on a charter bus and were off to Walmart for an incredible shopping spree.

Monique Clement, with SOS Healthcare, a community outreach organization that organizes the Substitute for Santa event, said, “Each child will get a $100 Walmart gift card to spend on themselves.”

The children had no problem spending, it was cart-to cart traffic in the aisles, as children loaded Barbie dolls, games, toy trucks, clothes, and shoes into their baskets.

Many of the children come from low income homes in the Loris area; organizers were able provide for the families as well. Clement said, “ We've also provided them with a ‘swag' bag filled with toiletries and blankets, stuff that we don't necessary want them to buy, but they will have for their household.”

A few volunteers said being part of an event that brings such joy to the children is rewarding to them and gives a warmth feeling that can't be described. “We're not be benefiting from this, except for the feeling that admitted and what we get in return is that warmth and this is a great thing," said Chris Cowen, who volunteered to take a little boy shopping.

All expenses for Substitute for Santa have been paid for through proceeds raised by gsSCENE in 2014's Kickin' It For Charity Kickball Tournament. Donations are currently provided by: Ultimate California Pizza, A& I Fire & Water Restoration, Sunway Charters, Liberty Tax Service, Studio 303 Inc., Springmaid Beach Resort and Native Sons.

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