ST. GEORGE — Over 100 classic cars descended onto the Guru’s Sports Bar and Grill parking lot to raise money and collect donations during the 10th annual Car Guys Care Toys for Tots event.
Every first Saturday in December at the lot near Sunset and Bluff in St. George, classic car enthusiasts pay an entry fee of one unwrapped toy to enter their cars into the show and attendees pay the same rate to enjoy food, music and over 100 classic vehicles on display during the event.
Donations are given to the U.S. Marine Corps, who officially adopted the Toys for Tots organization in 1948. According to the program’s website, the Marines distribute an average of 18 million toys to 7 million less fortunate children every year.
“So far, it’s been great every year and we’re able to get a lot of cash donations that we give out to the Marine Corps,” said Shane Dastrup, coordinator for Car Guys Care. “They’re able to use that money to buy toys and things for older children in the family, things that don’t get donated and so on.”
In 2018, event organizers collected over 600 toys and were able to donate over $2,300. As Dastrup looked out over the packed parking lot, he said he was hopeful that the event will not only match last year’s success but also build upon it.
Most of the participants, Dastrup said, recognize how fortunate they are to be able to pursue something they love and want to use their cars to raise awareness and money for Southern Utah families in need.
“We figure, if you’re not helping these kids out now, they’re going to be trouble sometime down the road,” he said. “It’s just important to us to do something to help Southern Utah’s communities.”
Weather has a large impact on the number of car enthusiasts and participants who come out, and Darren Nuttall told St. George News the day before the show is the biggest indicator as to whether there will be a good turnout. Fortunately, he said, Friday’s clear and temperate weather encouraged a decent turnout.
During the event, JC Hackett Utah classic car shows and cruise nights host, presented Dastrup and his wife with a plaque for all of the work they do throughout the year and the impact they have had on Toys for Tots and the Southern Utah community.
“It takes people who care enough to do this,” he said. “They care enough to put the show together, you care enough to support the show. That’s what all of this is about.”
Dastrup said he has enjoyed hosting events like the classic car show that benefit the community, and he hopes to continue to do so in the future. Events like these take time to plan, he said. For the Car Guys Care Toys for Tots event, organizers begin planning a year in advance.
Dastrup and his wife are involved in a number of other fundraisers, including a cruise night with 110 cars that raised over $700 for the Marine Corps.
“We used to do a lot helping other car clubs and stuff put on car shows, and it just got old,” he said. “It starts to take its toll, but it’s been fun. We just appreciate folks coming out and supporting something like this because it’s important to us.”
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