Cruisin’ for a Claus has donated more than $35,000 worth of toys

Participants turned out in droves to drop off toys and fill up a large trailer with toys and Radio Flyer wagons for the patients at Norton Children’s Hospital.

One of the only things that Chris Gore and his friends love as much as cars is helping children in their community.

Chris and many of his friends own hot rods or classic cars and belong to various car clubs around Louisville and Southern Indiana. He was inspired to start a charity event and toy drive after seeing a local motorcycle group host similar event.

“I wanted to do an event with hot rods, so we made up our own,” he said.

Challenges of 2020 didn’t stop donations

Chris and his friends started the Cruisin’ for a Claus event, which held its third annual event on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. They decided to partner with the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation to donate toys and funds in support of patients at Norton Children’s Hospital. The event is a parade of hot rods that takes place each year where participants and spectators each bring a new toy to donate to the patients at the hospital for the holidays. During past events, they have had more than 300 cars participate in the event along with the big man himself — Santa Claus.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and some cool, misty weather during this year’s event, participants turned out in droves to drop off toys and fill up a large trailer with toys and Radio Flyer wagons for the patients at Norton Children’s Hospital.

“This year, we only had 127 cars participate,” Chris said. “But we had a lot more people than that donating toys. Even if they didn’t bring their hot rod out, people still came in their personal vehicles just to drop off toys.”

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Local car community makes an impact supporting kids

This year, the event collected and donated approximately $10,000 in toys and raised more than $4,000 in donations in support of the patients at Norton Children’s Hospital through a silent auction which was a new addition this year. Since they began three years ago, they have donated more than $35,000 in toys to the hospital. According to Chris, the event continues to grow each year. Plans call for continuing the event annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

“The car community is so generous,” Chris said. “They will do anything for kids. It’s all because of them. I just organize it.”

Heather Stohr, manager of child life and expressive therapies, said the gift of toys and games certainly brings joy to the patients and families at Norton Children’s Hospital.

“We are so grateful for the generous and thoughtful donation from the supporters of Cruisin’ for a Claus,” Heather said. “We use the gifts not only during the holiday season but throughout the year, and we can’t thank them enough for their kind and giving hearts.”


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