The holiday spirit filled The Palace Theatre in Manchester, N.H. on Tuesday as Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig joined Speedway Children's Charities New Hampshire Chapter at its 11th annual grant distribution ceremony. Grants were handed out to 51 local nonprofits totaling $55,375 in front of the festive backdrop from "A Christmas Carol."

"Today is such a feel-good day," said David McGrath, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "True holiday spirit is all about helping those who need a little extra, and I'm so proud to be a part of this team who makes the holidays brighter for so many children in our community."

Since its inception in 2009, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and SCC have distributed more than $1.8 million, supporting more than 808,000 children in the local community.

"This is the best way to wrap up the year of fundraising and kick off the holiday season," said Hillarie Scott, director of Speedway Children's Charities New Hampshire Chapter. "Seeing the faces of those receiving the grants and hearing what they're planning on doing with the money to help kids in New England makes it all worth it."

Funds raised through the New Hampshire Chapter includes events such as the Dale Jr. Foundation Safe Kids 301, a motorcycle ride, Laps for Charity, the Charity Clay Shoot presented by NRA, Champions Breakfast, the Wicked Good Live Auction, Track Walk presented by PPG, the Red Bucket Brigade by PPG, the One for the Kids Golf Tournament, 24 Hours of Lemons Halloween Hooptiefest, the New England Half Marathon, the Yule Light Up The Night Run/Walk and Gift of Lights presented by Eastern Propane & Oil.

Craig expressed her gratitude for the many organizations that make the city of Manchester and the state of New Hampshire a great place, and how important the work they do is, especially during this time of year.

"During this time of giving, it's only fitting that we are here together thanks to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Speedway Children's Charities," said Craig. "All of you here today are among the many organizations that make our city and our state a great place, and I want to thank all of you for your dedication and your service to our children. I'm proud to be here with all of you to recognize the outstanding work that you do."

The New Hampshire Chapter is one of eight chapters around the country, and combined in 2019, Speedway Children's Charities distributed over $3 million in grants to more than 415 different charitable organizations across the country, bringing the total funds distributed since 1982 to more than $58.3 million, ensuring many children in need are given the tools to build a better, brighter and healthy future. The money raised comes in large part thanks to the fundraising efforts of the eight Speedway Motorsports facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Fundraising continues during the Gift of Lights presented by Eastern Propane & Oil, where a portion of all proceeds benefits SCCNH. Yule Light Up The Night, a 2.1-mile run with Millennium Running, will give visitors a unique view of the lights on Dec. 15 and will also benefit SCCNH (Gift of Lights will have a delayed opening for the run). The 2.5-mile drive-thru light show opens at 4 p.m. daily, and admission is $25 per car. Be sure to check the schedule for days of operation when planning your trip.