Winston-Salem, NC -- Wake Forest student-athletes came together to deliver presents to needy families as part of the annual Santa's Helper program on Saturday.
Athletes volunteered their time off the field, to wrap, bag and deliver presents to needy families with children in Winston-Salem.
Former Wake Forest football standout Chip Rives began the program in 1986 during his junior year at Wake Forest, where he was the starting fullback for the Demon Deacons football team.
In that first year he, along with help from his teammates, raised $2,000 and delivered presents to 45 needy families. That resulted in Rives being one of eight athletes named Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year by Sports Illustrated Magazine.
Since then, the program has grown, and has gotten to a point where last year volunteers delivered presents to almost 300 families and over 1,000 children.
Santa's Helper raises money through direct solicitation and from civic groups. Names of underprivileged children are obtained through the Salvation Army by Santa's Helper, which operates with minimum administrative expenses.
More than 95% of all contributions annually goes directly toward toy purchases with each child receiving 2 wrapped gifts that are personally delivered by a volunteer Santa.
WFMY News 2/Wake Forest University