Automotive & Aftermarket News / Events / News & Car Culture

Southern Cruisers Car Club Goes Cruising for a Cause at its Annual Santa Cruise for Toys for Tots


The Southern Cruisers Car Club will present the 11th Annual Santa Cruise for Toys for Tots at Summit Racing in McDonough, Georgia on December 3. Registration is $10 or the gift of an unwrapped toy.

Automobile enthusiasts are certainly a generous group, as evidenced by these boxes overflowing with donated toys.

After donating to make sure kids have toys of their own for the holidays, check out the rows of “big toys” that fill Summit Racing’s parking lot for the annual holiday event.

As in past years, Santa will be on hand to rev up plenty of holiday cheer. The jolly old elf will arrive at noon.

Donated toys and proceeds from the cruise-in support the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program, which has collected and distributed close to half a billion toys since its founding in 1947.

Local Marines, members of the Southern Cruisers Car Club, and the team from Summit Racing join together for a day of family fun and festivities.

Do you remember your most beloved childhood toy? If you’re a gearhead, chances are it had wheels and fueled your imagination like nothing else. Many enthusiasts can trace their lifelong passion for things automotive back to early memories of unwrapping pedal cars on Christmas morning, racing Hot Wheels on Day-Glo-orange strips of plastic, or rocketing Evel Knievel’s stunt cycle through a cardboard ring of fire.

For Roger Stanford, president of the Griffin, Georgia-based Southern Cruisers Car Club, the toy he remembers best still chugs along on its original track 61 years after first leaving the station.

“It’s a Lionel freight train,” said the retired auto mechanic. “I’m 73 years old. I got it when I was about 12, and it still runs. I get it out for my grandkids and my great-grandkids. It’s in perfect shape, and I still have the box it came in.”

Perhaps no one understands the enduring value of toys more than those who have transitioned from Matchboxes to muscle cars. In this spirit, members of the Southern Cruisers Car Club continue to fulfill their mission of making sure local boys and girls know the joy of having playthings to call their own.

The club will be presenting its 11th Annual Santa Cruise for Toys for Tots on Saturday, December 3, at Summit Racing in McDonough, GA. The event runs from 10 am to 4 pm and is open to all cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Along with music, food, door prizes, goody bags, and a raffle, Santa will be on hand beginning at noon. Registration is $10 or the gift of a new, unwrapped toy.

Donated toys and proceeds benefit the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. Founded in 1947, the Toys for Tots Foundation collects and distributes toys to less fortunate families who cannot afford to buy holiday presents for their children. The organization has provided close to half a billion toys nationwide since its inception.

In past years, cruise-in participants and attendees have brought enough toys to fill a fleet of sleighs — sports equipment, dolls, stuffed animals, bicycles, action figures, and pintsized cars and trucks for road warriors in training.

“We’ve had really good attendance for this event at Summit Racing,” Stanford said. “We raise several thousand dollars and fill boxes and boxes and boxes of toys.”

As for the “big toys,” Southern Cruisers members own a wide range of vehicles, from projects to pristine Corvettes. Stanford owns a 1962 Chevy Biscayne two-door and a 1958 Chevy Impala two-door coupe. He explained that he purchased the Impala in 2008 to replace the same vehicle he sold when he was 19 years old.

“If I knew then what I know now, I never would have sold it,” he said.

In addition to the annual Toys for Tots event, the club hosts car shows throughout the year and holds a cruise-in the second Saturday of the month from April to November. Stanford emphasized that people of all ages are welcome to join the club, whether they have a showstopper or work in progress. He added that seasoned members are more than willing to offer pointers to those who are just getting started on restoring and modifying their rides.

“There’s no fee to join,” Stanford said . “We’re open to all cars. And we always try to encourage kids to come out and bring the cars they’re working on.”

For more information or if you’re interested in joining the Southern Cruisers Car Club, call 770-468-6448.

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