MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Grand Strand Young Professionals and SOS Care have partnered to give 150 kids a jolly Christmas with their Substitutes for Santa charity event they host each December.


Thursday, they hosted a Christmas in July fundraiser where a dollar from every beer sold at Tidal Creek Beer Garden would go to the event. People have also had the option the entire month of July to round up their purchase to be donated.

Substitutes for Santa and its volunteers take children to Fun Warehouse for pizza, skating and games. Then, the kids are taken on a shopping trip to Walmart to buy presents for Christmas. Each child is also given a bag of household items and toiletries.

The business development program manager for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the liaison for Grand Strand Young Professionals, Caroline Yahnis, said helping the local kids in the community brightens the holiday season.

“When you’re playing in Fun Warehouse and then shopping over in Walmart it really just adds a memory into your mind about the great time that you spent with this kid,” she said. “They really look up to you they at the end are even hugging you, they don’t want you to go, they’re just learning so much from you but you’re also learning a lot from them. So it’s a great memory but it’s also a great Christmas memory and a great holiday memory.” 

She said the program has expanded the number of kids getting gifts over the years. This will be the 16th year.

“Each year we’re adding things on such as blankets, pillows, drawstring bags,” she said. “We’re really excited this year every kid is going to go away with three books.”

“Each year were just upping the ante we’re trying to give more and more to these kids because really each year after you are left with this memory you just want to do as much as you can to give more and more,” she said.

Santana Pennauchi, the general manager of Tidal Creek Beer Garden, said it was an easy decision to partner with the two groups.

“Every month, actually, we partner with a different local charity in the community and it’s just a way that we can give back,” Pennauchi said. “We are a local business, so we want to share the love to other local nonprofits so we partnered with substitutes for Santa in July as a little node to Christmas in July.”

She has not totaled the donations from the month of July yet, but said they usually raise between $300 to $600 a month for local nonprofits.

Tidal Creek Beer Garden is the first in the state to have the license to do what it does. Tanger Outlets Myrtle Beach Hwy 17 is the first in the country to allow people to drink adult beverages and shop. Pennauchi said it is great being able to benefit locals through her first of its kind business.

“Myrtle Beach is a very tight community, we really rely on one another, so we’re just happy to be part of that and watching the funds that we raise and the profits that we raise go back in our community,” she said.

Substitutes for Santa also offers opportunities for businesses and people to donate new items.

“One of the most important areas that we need donations is for our swag bags, which are full of household necessities,” Yahnis said. “Things like laundry detergent, paper towels, hand sanitizer, toothpaste — those type of things so we’re always looking for those to be added to those bags.”

Yahnis said there is no better feeling than helping out.

The event will be held Dec, 6. Volunteer opportunities are available online. Registration opens in October. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.