Local children in need received an early boost of holiday spirit Tuesday night. The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities distributed $500,000 in grants to 63 local child-related organizations during its annual grant distribution ceremony in the LocaliQ Digital Center at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Hundreds of children and representatives from all 63 grant recipients attended the event, which included special appearances from LVMS's very own Pit Boss, Superheroes from Critical Care Comics and Santa Claus, who arrived on a fire truck with a squad car escort. In addition, each child received a toy that was provided by COACH South Premium Outlet & Schnitzer Properties. Finally, the children and their families were all allowed to drive through the Glittering Lights holiday light show at no cost.

"We look forward to this night every year," said Paulette Anderson, director of the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities " Our grant ceremony is our Academy Awards. All the funds we raise during the year are distributed to deserving organizations to meet the critical needs of all children."

Since the Las Vegas Chapter's charter in 1999, more than $5 million has been donated to children's organizations in Southern Nevada. This year’s fundraising season included Laps for Charity at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Drive for Charity Golf Tournament, the South Point Car and Truck Show presented by Star Nursery, Laps for Charity Under the Lights, the Oktoberfest Truck and car Show at The Orleans, the P.J. 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk and many fundraising opportunities during our NASCAR weekends.

The following groups received grants at Tuesday night's ceremony: After-School All-Stars Las Vegas, Baby's Bounty, BE A SHERO Foundation, Best Buddies, Candlelighters for Childhood Cancer, Capability Health and Human Services, Children's Foundation of Las Vegas, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, Chef for Kids Inc, Children's Advocacy Alliance, Childrens Heart Foundation, Culture Shock, Cure 4 The Kids, Daniels Den, Discovery Childrens Museum, El-Shaddai Refuge Homes, Empowering 2 Excel, Epicurean Charitable Foundation, Eye Care 4 Kids, Foster Kinship, Foundation for Positively Kids, Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, Help of Southern Nevada, Helping Hands of Vegas Valley, HopeLink of Southern Nevada, Junior Achievement, Klothes 4 Kids, Las Vegas Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, Las Vegas Chapter of National AMBUCS, Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Miracle Flights, Nathan Adelson Hospice, National Hemophilia Foundation, Nevada Blind Children, Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, Nevada Diabetes Association for Children and Adults, Nevada Health Centers, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, New Horizon, Olive Crest, Positively Arts, Real Talk Youth Impact Program Inc, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Rotary Club, S A F E House Inc., Serving Our Kids Foundation INC, Sin City Church, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Inc., Somerset Academy, Specialized Alternatives for Families & Youth of NV, Spread The Word Nevada, St. Jude's Ranch for Children, TeenPact Leadership Schools, The Just One Project, The Lullaby Connection, The Policy Athletic League of Southern Nevada, Three Square, United Service Organizations Inc, Valley View Community Care, YMCA of Southern Nevada, Youth Outdoor Unity.