Sweeney’s ‘Operation Santa’ Gives $30K to Charities

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Although the holiday season has wrapped up, two local charities received a late gift as part of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC’s Operation campaign.

Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley and Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown received checks from the Sweeney dealerships Thursday. The organizations split the $30,200 raised over the six-week campaign. Between Nov. 21 and Dec. 31, $50 from each new car sold at the two dealerships was given to Operation Santa.

“You can’t be in a business that long in a small community unless you have a great customer base, so we wanted to give that back to the community,” said the owner of the dealership, Doug Sweeney.

Over the four years of the campaign, Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC has donated more than $100,000 to local charities. The staff at the two dealerships vote on two charities to donate to each year. This is the second time Rescue Mission and the Boys & Girls Club have been chosen.

“They chose two really great charities that do a lot for this community,” Sweeney said. “Entities like the Boys & Girls Club and the Rescue Mission do so much for so many that need support every day. They can’t do it without public donations.”

The Boys & Girls Club’s portion will be used to support its programs, said Laura Weymer, the organization’s director of development. About 90 children take part in its programs daily year-round, she says. For the Rescue Mission, Executive Director Jim Echement said the money will go toward its capital campaign for a new building on Youngstown’s south side.

“We can’t exist with the community support. Doug Sweeney and his team here are just extraordinary. What they do for the community as a whole is incredible,” Echement said. “This is a great way to get the name out and the word out about what goes on [at the Rescue Mission]. We have a successful campaign that’s going on year-round, but this encourages that. It boosts it and it keeps the Rescue Mission at the top of your mind.”

Weymer said while many local charities are constantly fundraising and asking for donations, having a company like Sweeney take on some of those responsibilities is a great help.

“They’re a community-minded company. They’re locally owned, which means they’re invested in serving the people in our community, especially the kids in Youngstown,” she said. “We can’t thank them enough for what they do for us and the community.”

Pictured: Jim Echement from the Rescue Mission, left,  and Germaine McAlpine, far right, share the donation from Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC’s Alexa Sweeney Blackann and Doug Sweeney. 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.