It is not your average Super Bowl party.
For seven years now, a little-known organization called the Santa Claus Yacht Club has been hosting a Super Bowl party that does more than just provide a place to cheer on your favorite team. The nonprofit uses the most-watched sporting event in the world as a means to tackle the needs of Alexandrias underprivileged children and families.
Held at Landini Brothers Restaurant in Old Town, this years event featured a buffet, silent auction, prizes, widescreen TVs and a crowd of more than 140 people, most of them cheering on Episcopal High School graduate Tim Hightower, who was playing for the Arizona Cardinals.
The proceeds from the evening will go to providing assistance to families in need in Alexandria at Christmastime, hence the moniker Santa Claus Yacht Club.
The group was founded more than 20 years ago to help make ends meet for a retired riverboat captain whose pension funds had been stolen. After he passed away, the group realized they still had a good sum of money and needed something to do with it, club president Gary Heinzmann said.
In 1994, the club decided to begin helping needy families at Christmas. That year, school officials at Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy picked seven families to receive several weeks worth of foodstuffs during the holiday season and a gift card was given to each child.
This past year, 58 families and more than 200 children at Lyles-Crouch and Matthew Maury Elementary School benefited from the Santa Claus Yacht Clubs charity, Heinzmann said.
To raise the funds necessary for such a charitable drive, the club hosts its annual Super Bowl party as well as a golf tournament in the fall.
Many of the groups 86 members have been involved since its inception, or close to it. While club members would prefer to stay out of the spotlight, they, like similar charitable organizations, are eager to bring new members into the group, which remains uniquely Alexandrian.
More information on the Santa Claus Yacht Club can be found by visiting its website at www.scycva.org.