Holiday charity lives even in pandemic

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(File photo) Dave Kelleher, in his David Dodge showroom in Chadds Ford , surrounded by toys and bicycles going to needy children as part of the Adopt a Child Program administered through City Team Ministries of Chester. No toys in the showroom this year, though. Kelleher suggestions donating through PayPal.

It's been 13 years that Dave Kelleher — the owner of David Dodge — has been coordinating the Adopt A Child Program administered through City Team Ministries in Chester. It's a little different this year, though, because of COVID-19.

While in previous years, people could bring a gift to Kelleher's car dealership on Route 202 in Chadds Ford, now he's asking people to donate to the charity via PayPal or some other online means. Bicycles, dolls, and other gifts might not be piling up in the showroom this year, but the giving is continuing.

One of the major differences between Adopt A Child and other charities is that donors know for whom they are buying.

"That's really the beauty of this," Kelleher said.

And that will hold up even this year when donors aren't buying the gifts directly.

"When we get that $50, $100, or more in cash or gift cards, we're going to contact the donors and tell them who they are helping. When you're having coffee and enjoying Christmas morning with your family, you'll know exactly who you are helping," he said.

To make matters more interesting, Kelleher said he's going to match every donation that comes in so that twice as many kids can get Christmas presents.

"Our goal is to 'adopt' 150 children, but I'll double that so that 300 can enjoy the holiday," he said. "I'll match all the donations."

Donations will be accepted through Dec. 9. Visit the David Dodge website.

Kelleher has long been known for his generosity in the community. He's donated to local nonprofits, provided transportation services for events, and he's also helped out WMGK personality John DeBella with his annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drop.

Just before the interview, he said, he was on the air with DeBella, and paying for corn and potatoes so that families in need can have a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.

Kelleher said he's been blessed. He grew up in a middle-class family that didn't always have a lot, but they always made do, and he was instilled with the idea of helping others and giving. Referring to his career in the auto industry as "accidental," he admits to being successful. He thinks helping others has helped him.

"The more I give, the better I do."

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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