Warm Hearts

When seasons change, shorts are exchanged for jeans, tank tops are traded for coats, and flip-flops are swapped for socks and boots. Unfortunately, when thousands of Tri-State residents reach into their closets for these layers, they return empty-handed.

Since 1946, the Santa Clothes Club has provided new, warm clothing for more than 74,000 children and raised nearly $6 million. Today, the organization is headed by Doug Duell, who carries on the tradition his father Dave Duell set serving the club 25 years ago.

“My father became involved with the club 25 years ago and was the president for a long time,” says Duell, who is the owner of Evansville Kia Mazda Volvo and Evansville Hyundai. “When he passed away in 2005, I joined the board and became president this year. There are 18 board members and no one is paid. All of the money goes to the local community.”

The organization services 3,000 needy children in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Gibson, and Posey counties in Indiana, and Henderson County in Kentucky, and provides them with complete sets of clothing that include one pair of jeans, one shirt/top, nine-pack of underwear, 10-pack of socks, gloves, a pair of shoes, and a hooded coat. Board members of Santa Clothes Club, through schools, churches, nonprofit organizations, and private referrals, compile information on the children. Vouchers are mailed to the children in kindergarten through sixth grade to redeem at the East Side Walmart.

“It has been in our family for years and the dealership has worked very closely with the organization,” says Duell. “I’m attracted to it because it’s local, in our area, and 100 percent goes into buying clothes for these kids. Unfortunately, we have a need in the Tri-State and we need to help those kids.”

Fundraising takes place throughout the year with events such as a spaghetti dinner at Biaggi’s, the Dave Duell Memorial Golf Outing, the Santa Clothes Club Telethon, and others.

For more information about Santa Clothes Club, visit its Facebook page.

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