Sam’s Diner raises record $61,500 for Operation Santa

Chronicle News Editor Gordon Woodworth writes:

Sam’s Diner on Dix Avenue in Glens Falls raised a record $61,500 — up from $38,600 last year — in its “Small Business Challenge” for Operation Santa.

Pete Brock of Sam’s Diner, left, with Operation Santa co-founder Frank Munoff.

Sam’s Diner owner Pete Brock said the $61,500 will provide coats, hats and mittens for 1,118 kids.

He said Operation Santa has personal meaning for him because years ago “I was one of those kids. I got a coat and hat and mittens from Operation Santa Claus. It’s a pretty incredible program.”

Operation Santa co-founder Frank Munoff said Sam’s record total means “it’s now our biggest fund-raiser.”

The diner’s original goal this year was $40,000. “But once we hit that, I bumped it to $50,000,” Mr. Brock told The Chronicle.

A big boost came from a prime rib dinner held at Shaughnessy’s Olde Log Inn in Lake George. It raised $17,000.

“Jesse Fish and the gang from South Glens Falls held three fund-raisers, and donated $7,600,” Mr. Brock added. “The Adirondack Car Enthusiasts donated $7,000, proceeds from their two car shows. Lewis Super donated $2,545.

“Massie’s held a ‘Take-out Tuesday’ that raised $2,200.”

Sale of mums donated by Jim Girard Landscaping raised $1,530. Girard also donated all of the centerpieces for the dinners, Mr. Brock said.

Six years ago, Sam’s first Small Business Challenge for Operation Santa raised $1,700. It started as a jar on the counter, asking businesses to donate $100.

“I will never say no for the kids,” Mr. Brock said. “This feels fabulous. Warms my heart!”

Mr. Brock notes that his wife “Lisa and I have twin daughters, Nicole and Brittany. When Brittany was five, she had a three-year battle with leukemia. She’s now a pediatric nurse practitioner in the NICU at Rochester Memorial Hospital.

“During her illness, the community was unbelievable to our family. This is my way of giving back.

WCKM aids Operation Santa too

Meanwhile, the 21st annual auction for Operation Santa by radio station “WCKM’s Morning Club with Dan Miner and Pete Cloutier” raised $9,315.

Listeners are also supplying 1,163 toys for local children, Mr. Miner said.

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