Clothing Needy Children for More Than 70 Years
Since our founding in 1946, the Santa Clothes Club has worked tirelessly to provide warm winter clothes for disadvantaged children in the Tri-State. But how did it all begin?
1946: Recognizing a Need
Like many charitable organizations, the Santa Clothes Club arose out of a recognized need. In 1946, as cold weather set in, many Evansville-area school students were arriving for the school day inadequately dressed for the season. Dick Anderson, Sports Editor for the Evansville Press, and Don Menke, Manager of WEOA Radio, organized a group of like-minded local business and civic leaders to undertake fundraising to purchase clothing for these needy children. The local YMCA was instrumental in identifying children who would benefit from such a gift, and in its first year, the Santa Clothes Club met its goal of clothing 50 children in need.
The Early Years
From 1946 to 1953, The Santa Clothes Club broadcast was presented annually on WEOA Radio. With the increasing popularity of television in the 1950s, a fundraising telethon began broadcasting on WEHT in 1954. For more than 60 years, WEHT has hosted this telethon in early December, utilizing their on-air talent. The entire broadcast, from on-air talent to camera operators to phone bank operators, is staffed entirely by volunteers. Every dollar generated through the telethon is used to purchase clothing, with any miscellaneous expenses being absorbed by participating individuals, groups and the television station.
Expanding Our Vision
After 35 years of operation as a charitable cause, the Santa Clothes Club incorporated as a non-profit organization in November 1981. In January 1982 officers and a board of directors were elected, with many of these individuals dedicating their time to this cause for many years following. This group is the core of the volunteers who oversee the annual fund drive, including the solicitation of funds, obtaining the names and addresses of the needy children, purchase and distribution of clothing, producing the telethon and any other programs in the community. Planning and coordinating of this project is a yearlong effort.
Helping Kids in Need
Information on the children is compiled by the counselors from schools, church groups, civic organizations and private referrals. Counties serviced by the organization are Vanderburgh, Warrick, Gibson, Posey and in Indiana and Henderson County in Kentucky. Certificates are mailed to the children in grades K thru 6 to be redeemed at Super Wal-Mart, on Evansville’s Eastside, for a complete set of clothing – 1 pair of jeans, 1 shirt/top, 9-pack of underwear, 10-pack of socks, gloves, pair of shoes, and a hooded coat.
We've Come a Long Way
In 1946, our modest goal was to clothe 50 children. We met that goal and have kept growing! Since 1982, the Santa Clothes Club has raised $5,872,200.00 and has clothed over 74,000 children.
The Need Continues
Winter comes every year, and children grow. The need is great, and without your help many children will face the cold without proper clothing.
Make a Donation
Just $100 completely clothes one child with a complete set of clothing – 1 pair of jeans, 1 shirt/top, 9-pack of underwear, 10-pack of socks, gloves, pair of shoes, and a hooded coat.
Help Us Help the Children
Your generous donation of just $100 will help completely clothe one child for the cold winter season.Donate Now