The Christmas spirit was alive and well in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, as New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the New Hampshire Chapter of the Speedway Children’s Charities donated $169,710 to 44 non-profit organizations as part of its third annual grant distribution presentation at Manchester City Hall.

“To have the opportunity to make a difference – no matter how big or small – for these programs certainly makes a day like today so worthwhile,” said Cheryl LaPrade, director of the N.H. Chapter of SCC. “We’re happy to help you fulfill the things you do to help kids.”

Representatives from nearly all of the 44 organizations, scattered across New England, were on hand to receive a check from Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway. The funds will provide assistance to more than 49,000 underprivileged children. Since its inception in 2009, the SCC and NHMS have raised more than $450,000, which has supported the needs of more than 88,000 children.

“It’s the time of year where everyone wants to help out and this year I’m very pleased with the effort that was put forth to raise nearly $170,000 for children-related causes in and around New Hampshire, up into Maine and of course into Massachusetts,” said Gappens. “The race fans were very generous this year, coming to our events and contributing. That’s the mission of the SCC, to help a child in need, and that’s what we’ve done here.”

Money is raised through events such as celebrity dinners, golf tournaments, track walks, silent auctions, the Red Bucket Brigade and the Ride of a Lifetime, which allows fans to bid on a chance to ride with their favorite NASCAR driver at different Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) tracks.

Chris Emond, executive director of the Concord Boys and Girls Club in Concord, N.H., said that the money will provide scholarship money to about 330 kids so they are able to attend the Club’s after-school and summer day camp programs.   “The donation is very important because approximately half our budget comes from charitable activities, contributions from individuals and foundations such as the SCC,” said Emond.   Dawn Stanhope, executive director of David’s House in Lebanon, N.H. David’s House provides a home-away-from-home and support for the families of children receiving treatment at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.   “The money we receive from Speedway Children’s Charities helps us keep that home environment,” said Stanhope. “David’s House relies 100 percent on donations from the community to help support over 13,000 square feet of housing for these families.”

Mayor Ted Gatsas and Gappens capped off the event by giving three children a sled, which they all sat on together to an ovation from all 44 groups.

“This is what the holiday season is all about,” said Gatsas. “Jerry and New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the SCC don’t have to give $450,000 away, but they do because of how much they care for the welfare of children like the ones we have here today.”

“One hundred years from now it will not matter what your bank account was, what sort of house you lived in or the kind of car you drove,” added LaPrade, “but the world may be different because you were important in the life of a child and all of you hear today emulate that.”

The money was raised during the 2012 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR weekends, as well as several other events held throughout the season.