Santa Claus is coming to town a bit early this year, and he’s making sure to stop by O’Connor Chrysler with a little something for all the kids who stop by. On Friday, Dec. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m., Chilliwack’s Chrysler dealership is giving back to the community by hosting an event that’s all about the kids.
“Christmas is for the kids,” said Carson Grant, O’Connor Chrysler’s general manager. So Friday’s event is “all based around the children. Santa Claus will be there for the public to come in and bring their kids, and each kid will get a Christmas stuffie.”
“We wanted to make sure we’re giving back (directly) to the community, not (the province) or anything like that,” said Grant, who’s daddy to two little girls and wants to see all kids taken care of.
The Foundation “spreads it around, it’s all local (and) stays here (in Chilliwack). It’s given to children who are less fortunate: if a kid needs braces, then they help the child out. That’s where all the money’s going.”
“This is the largest lump-sum donation from a business that we’ve ever received,” said Luke Zacharias, president of the Chilliwack Children’s Foundation. “It’s going to have a substantial impact (on what we can do) … and we’re very grateful (they thought) of us and are willing to be that generous.”
Started in 1995, the Chilliwack Children’s Foundation is there to help families who may find themselves in a difficult spot.
“There’s significant gaps for funding for our kids, and for some, if a family doesn’t have the means to pay, they just go without,” continued Zacharias.
“There’s also an enormous amount of stress on our social services, and so things, (like dental surgery), aren’t funded as completely as they might be, so the Chilliwack Children’s Foundation steps in and fills some of those gaps for people who don’t have an option.”
Although the Foundation is funded annually by the Mt. Cheam Rotary Club, Zacharias says a donation of this size will allow the Foundation to do more of the work they do. Last year they spent more than $60,000 helping Chilliwack families with their recreational, educational, medical, and dental needs. And as the Foundation is run entirely by volunteers, 100 per cent of donations received are used to help the city’s children.
“Dental is a big expense, but we do camps, enrolment in sporting activities, tutors for kids needing help with their learning, and (provide devices or) aids for children with disabilities, (and) counselling.”
And although the event is all about the kids, Grant adds that O’Connor Chrysler also wanted to give back to their customers, who they value so much.
“We’re going to do a reverse draw for anyone who bought a new or used vehicle with us from October 1 to December 15,” Grant explained, “and the winner will also get $10,000!
“We just wanted to create an (awesome) holiday celebration that would kick off the Christmas season.”
For more information about O’Connor Chrysler, please visit their website at OConnorChrysler.com, and for more information about the Chilliwack Children’s Foundation, or to make a donation, please visit their website at ChilliwackChildrensFoundation.ca.