Each year, the Downtown Optimist Club helps other local organizations bring Christmas to children who might not otherwise get visits from Santa Claus. The club routinely donates to Meridian Shop With The Police, Wesley House, Toys For Tots, The Salvation Army and Cans For Kids. Each of these organizations work together through Wesley House to ensure that as many children as possible are served.
In 2010 and again in 2011, the DTOC doubled their annual Christmas donations to these organizations and gave each organization $1,000 to help offset some of the higher costs these groups are experiencing due to increased requests for help. With the stagnate economy, greater need and lower donations, the membership of the DTOC decided to increase their level of support and in doing so, challenge other community groups to increase their support as well.
The presentation of the donations took place on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011, the same day DTOC membership volunteered to ring bells for The Salvation Army. Vice President Gene Vance gave out the donations and asked all the representatives of the groups to provide an overview of the work they are doing for children.