KINGSPORT, TN - The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce and Food City are proud to announce the return of The Santa Train Tradition, a special children's book inspired by one of the region's most anticipated holiday traditions. The well crafted children's book was written by local author Leigh Anne W. Hoover, a longtime Kingsport resident, and beautifully illustrated by Carol Bates Murray of Marion, VA.
For the past two years, the popular book has been a holiday feature in Food City stores along the 110-mile route. Back by popular demand, the book will be available for sale in select Food City locations during the 2010 Christmas season.
"We are so proud to have the opportunity to again aid in the support of such a great tradition that benefits so many of our area children," said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and CEO. "We would love to give back even more this year!"
The Santa Train Tradition tells the story of seven-year-old Ben Massey and his annual family tradition of walking to meet the Santa Train on the chilly Saturday morning before Thanksgiving.
"Capturing the essence of this renowned, Appalachian Christmas tradition in a children's book has been my privilege and my pleasure," said Hoover. "I hope that The Santa Train Tradition will become a treasured holiday keepsake for many families."
The book retails for $11.99 and will be available for sale through January 1, 2011, at Food City locations in Pikeville (Kentucky), Church Hill, Kingsport, Johnson City, Gray and Jonesborough (Tennessee) and Weber City and St. Paul (Virginia). Books can also be purchased at the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.
"This is the first children's book about the Santa Train and the rich history behind it," said Food City Store Manager and Santa Train Co-chair Ed Moore.
Again this year, a percentage of the book's proceeds will benefit the Santa Train Scholarship and the Literacy Council of Kingsport. Each year a high school senior along the 110-mile route of the Santa Train is awarded a $5,000 college scholarship. To date, Food City has presented proceeds exceeding $9,500 to representatives of the Kingsport Chamber Foundation to benefit the Santa Train Scholarship.
"Leigh Anne Hoover not only has gifted us with this one of a kind children's book, but she teamed up with our friends at Food City to give us a gift that will allow students to attend college. That is an amazing gift," said Miles Burdine, Kingsport Chamber president and CEO.
Months before the Santa Train leaves the station, volunteers are busy collecting, separating and packing donated toys and gifts, which are shipped from all-across the country in preparation for the much anticipated event. Originating in 1943, the Santa Train has been winding its way though the mountains of Appalachia for more then 67 years. The tradition started as a way to show appreciation to residents of Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky for shopping in Kingsport.
The Santa Train is an annual project sponsored by CSX Transportation, Food City, Kids Wish Network, and the Kingsport Tennessee Area Chamber of Commerce. It delivers more than 15 tons of donated gifts, toys, clothing, and candies along the train's route from Shelby, Ky., to Kingsport. For more information on The Santa Train Tradition, visit www.thesantatraintradition.com.
For continuous updates about the Santa Train, please visit the Kingsport Chamber on Facebook, Twitter and www.KingsportChamber.org. Find more on the Facebook fan page, The Santa Train and on Twitter @TheSantaTrain.
The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit business organization comprised of nearly 1,000 members. The Kingsport Chamber's mission is to utilize resources and focus efforts on enhancing a strong and viable business environment for the Kingsport area. For more information on the Kingsport Chamber, visit www.KingsportChamber.org or call (423) 392-8800. We're social too; follow us on our Facebook page, Your Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce and on our Twitter account, @kptchamber.
Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores operates 105 retail food outlets throughout the tri-state regions of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.