Christmas Caravan for Kids is a United Charitable Programs 501(c)(3) public charity. Christmas Caravan for Kids held its first toy drive in 2003 and was a huge success! So we formed our foundation in 2004 as a way for the four wheel drive enthusiast to give back to the community, specifically the children. When we are exploring the back country with others, we develop a sense of camaraderie towards others as well as an understanding that we can't travel these roads alone; we need our friends with us to help when the road gets rough. When you stumble, or get left behind, it's easy to feel alone and hopeless. At that moment, a friend can keep your hope alive and make all the difference. So many of us go through the day unaware of the ones falling behind because their road is getting tough with no one is there to help. We need to reach out and offer a hand to those so no is left wanting. If we reach out to a child with compassion, friendship and hope, we can give them a chance at a better world. With that objective in mind, Christmas Caravan for Kids looks to create some happiness for children to help improve their world and to show we care; we all care.
So on the first Saturday in December, Christmas Caravan for Kids with the help of Marine Air Control Squadron-23 (MACS 23), sponsors a toy drive to support the USMC's Toys for Tots foundation. Even though Christmas Caravan for Kids is a one day event, a great deal of planning is needed to ensure the success of the event. The day of the event is really 2 events in one; a collection site where we setup for vendors and toy collection. At the collection site, we provide participants a free raffle of very nice products donated by the vendors and a free lunch provided by Christmas Caravan for Kids all for the price of one new toy! Each year we look to expand the experience for participants and that is why we now include live music. Our 2013 event will be centered at Lincoln College of Technology. The first couple of years, we held the event outside and we quickly discovered the weather was going to be an issue. The outdoor events had days ranging from the low 60s and sunny to snow and low teens for temperatures. So for the past several years we've been inside at the Jefferson County Event Center. With great excitement, we're pleased to announce that we've outgrown the event center and are now teaming up with Lincoln College of Technology. The second portion of the event occurs off site at the Caravan meeting points. Several spots around the city and even the state are designated as Caravan meeting points where local 4 wheelers congregate to organize themselves and caravan to Lincoln College. It is quite impressive watching lines of 4WD vehicles tooling down the highway all together! When they arrive at the site, they finish up by driving through the toy donation site to hand off their toy and receive a stuffer bag with event information, a free raffle ticket, and lunch tickets for everyone in the car.
As a not-for-profit, we are always looking for assistance in fund-raising and volunteering, so feel free to contact us. All monies raised by Christmas Caravan for Kids are received by United Charitable Programs and become the sole property of UCP which, for internal operating purposes, allocates the funds to Christmas Caravan for Kids. The project manager for Christmas Caravan for Kids makes recommendations for disbursements which are reviewed by UCP for approval.