Fundraising records were broken at Thursday night’s Night of Smiles event at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, as they awarded 87 charities with grants from the $712,000 raised by the organization last year, according to a Speedway Children’s Charities news release.
The release said the $712,000 raised brings the Bristol Chapter of SCC’s overall total to more than $7 million. The nonprofit group has been dedicated to helping children over the past 15 years.
Feeding America Southwest Virginia was awarded the Jeff Byrd Grant of $50,000. The grant was established for Byrd, the former Bristol Motor Speedway president and general manager who died in 2010.
Claudia Byrd, executive director of the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities and Jeff Byrd’s widow, said she was happy to award the grant to the organization, which will use the funding for a summer health fair.
“Everybody who knew Jeff knows how much he loved kids and how important it was to him to be able to help them,” Claudia said. “Feeding America Southwest Virginia is going to be able to help about 1,800 children in the area over the next two summers, just not by providing food but also by teaching them how to live healthier lives. I think it’s a fantastic program, and I know Jeff would feel the same way.”
Among the 87 recipients awarded grants included Big Brothers/Big Sisters of East Tennessee, Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City and Washington County, Coalition For Kids, Girls Inc. of Johnson City/Washington County, Girls on the Run of Northeast Tennessee, Hands On! Regional Museum and Rise UP.
The chapter hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year, including Speedway In Lights powered by TVA at BMS, the SUBWAY Speedway In Lights 5K Run/Walk, the Sharky 500, golf tournaments and the Ultimate Bristol Experiences Online Auction.
In the release, Claudia said community support of SCC and its events allows the organization to be able to aid others in need.
“It truly can’t be emphasized enough,” she said. “The people in this region are absolutely the best. The support we receive is simply amazing. For us to be able to raise and distribute $712,000 to this many agencies speaks volumes about the giving and compassionate nature of our neighbors.”
The 16th season of Speedway In Lights opened Friday at BMS and will run through Jan. 5.
Tickets for the show are available at the BMS gate, and prices for cars are $12 Sunday-Thursday and $15 Friday and Saturday. Activity van prices are $20 each night and bus tickets are $85 each night.
For more information on Speedway In Lights and the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, visit www.bristolmotorspeedway.com or call 989-6900.