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Atlanta SantaCon

Location: Atlanta, GA - Map It STATUS: Active

 The Atlanta SantaCon event was started by Dirty Southern Burners in 2005. From an initial attendance of 20, the event now annually attracts over 1,000 participants. The event traditionally takes place in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta.
With the formation of the Burners Without Borders – Georgia chapter in 2012, it was decided to build on the potential charity aspects of the event. The concept was to offer to food & beverage establishments along the SantaCon route the chance to participate in a meaningful way through donations to designated charities. In addition, SantaCon participants were encouraged to bring canned goods for distribution to a local LGBT homeless youth shelter. Lifeline, an animal rescue organization,  and BWB National were designated the recipients of the cash donations. The choice of which group would receive an establishment’s donation was left to the donor. With less than six weeks to introduce and market the new concept, SantaCon was able to generate participation from 7 businesses along the route. Donations totals included: $750 for Lifeline (matched by a local company, making the total impact $1,300), BWB National was designated $125 for Sandy Relief Efforts, BWB – GA collected over $200 through “pass the bucket” efforts of designated santa’s and elves, and Lost and Found youth services collected enough canned goods to fill the pantry for six months. Lost and Found also received a $100 contribution from one of the establishments.
With lessons learned in the 2012 effort, the planning for the 2013 SantaCon began in late summer. 
Charity Designation. The first step was to establish the charity recipient for 2013. Nominations were solicited from the community and voting on the top nominations was open to the community. The charity designated for 2013 was Animals Savers Rescue (ASR). BWB – GA will annually remain a recipient and the participant canned food drive will continue to benefit Lost and Found.
Collecting Donation Pledges. Once the charity designations were completed, in October the process began to personally contact each of last year’s participants inquiring about their commitment this year. On the personal visits, each 2012 participant was presented a plague for their donation. This year the number of businesses has increased by 1 (unfortunately we lost one due to fire).  Starting the process in October has allowed the business more time to prepare for the event and give consideration for additional ways they can contribute. Currently prior to the event, we have collected $770 and anticipate more as the event arrives on Saturday, December 21. One business already has placed out collection boxes for new pet supplies and another is already collecting canned goods. On event day, participants are still encouraged to bring canned goods for donation to Lost and Found. Of course, our designated santa’s and elves (with BWB – GA aprons) will be out collecting any loose change people may have for contribution to BWB – GA.

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