Preferred Auto Group: 300 Free Christmas Trees
Giving away Christmas trees is something Preferred Auto Group began doing 20 years ago. That first year, the used-car dealer group, which is based in northern Indiana, gave away 25 trees. This year, the number of trees has grown to 300, and the dealership tradition has become an event so big that more than 100 volunteers were needed to make it happen. The dealer group does the giveaway to ensure everyone who wants a Christmas tree can have one.
Dressed in warm jackets and work gloves, volunteers spent the early hours of December 7 loading recipients' cars with free Christmas trees. Most volunteers were dealership employees donating a few hours of their day off to make the giveaway run smoothly. Some employees invited their families to lend a hand for the event.
The extra manpower came in handy, as there was a line of nearly 200 vehicles waiting to receive a free tree as soon as the event began. Santa gave candy canes and hugs to the kids while the dealership staff offered adults hot chocolate and coffee to fight off the cold.
The dealer group does other community outreach throughout year, but the Christmas tree giveaway seems to be one of the group's favorites. "It is the most emotional event that we have every year," Jay Leonard, owner of Preferred Auto Group, told Edmunds. "I am really lucky to have a group of people that believe in the same things that I do. My entire staff understands the importance of giving back."
Kiefer Automotive Group: Cars for Christmas
For the second year, Oregon's Kiefer Automotive Group will brighten the holiday season for a few local families in need of safe, reliable transportation. Each dealership in the group, Kiefer Kia, Kiefer Mazda and Kiefer Nissan, will be giving away a fully reconditioned used car to a family that has been nominated in the 20-day end-of-year holiday contest. The auto group also covers the cost of DMV registrations. The dealer group expects to get upward of 500 nominations, says Ramzi Habib, coordinator of the 2014 Kiefer Cars for Christmas charity event.
This year's winners will receive one of two minivans, or a fuel-efficient midsize sedan. Habib admits that although the auto group loves the promotion, there is one tough part: deciding who gets the vehicle. "When you hear these stories about folks and families down on their luck, of course you want to help every one.... It's difficult to select only three winners. We'd love to give everybody a car."