Sponsored by Southern Nevada area Rotary Clubs and spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Las Vegas, the beloved “Santa Clothes” program provides much needed shoes, socks, winter clothing, mentoring and a sports ball gift to at-risk children from throughout the Las Vegas valley during the Christmas season.
Now in its 19th year of operation, the event, has to date, served more than 3,500 children ages 6-12.
On the day of “Santa Clothes” children pre-screened and identified by local charitable organizations are driven to J.C. Penney’s stores throughout the valley, where each child is paired up with a Rotarian or invited guest volunteer to shop for shoes, socks, underwear, pants, shirts and a jacket.
When the shopping is done, the kids visit UNLV, where they engage in supervised sports activities with college athletes and cheerleaders. Following the games, the children gather for pizza and an inspirational talk in the Lied Auditorium. Past speakers have included former NFL and UNLV Head Football Coach John Robinson, Former UNLV and NFL Quarterback Randall Cunningham and past UNLV Men’s Basketball Coach Lon Kruger. In addition, each child receives an age appropriate toy or gift before returning home.
With the children being mentored by Rotarians and invited guests while shopping, and by UNLV athletes and coaches while visiting UNLV, the program is also a natural fit for the Las Vegas Rotary Clubs new mission statement of “Teaching youth to succeed through Literacy, Education and Life Skills Development”.
Program Chairman Jim Hunt reports that in 2013 more than 300 children benefited from the program. In order to reach its goal, the Rotary Clubs need to collect more than $35,000. To make a donation of any size, contact Jim Hunt at 702-498-7787 or Tom Krob at 702-498-2259.