Bev and Jim Givens stand by their 2007 Corvette convertible his wife purchased for him as a birthday present. The pair have participated in the St. Jude Corvette Drive for five years.
Approximately 20 Corvette owners met at a rest area for lunch Thursday in Jackson, before hitting the road for the 11th annual St. Jude Corvette Drive. The group from the local area met with a group of about 60 Corvette owners from Peoria, Illinois, to continue their drive to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Each driver in the event commits to raise $1,000 and each passenger raises $500 from friends and family to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The route ends at the facility in Memphis, where the participants drive their vehicles around the hospital for the patients and parents to watch.
The drivers are expected to arrive at 11:20 am today in Memphis and will form a parade from 11:30 to 11:45 am for the patients and their parents to watch from the hospital. Corvette owners Marty and Judy Dooley purchased more than 200 Corvette Hot Wheels toys to distribute to the patients when the group arrives at the hospital.
In previous years, patients could get into the vehicles for a closer look at the Corvettes, but because of COVID guidelines, the event has switched to a drive-through format.
Bev and Jim Givens have participated in the event for five years in the 2007 Corvette convertible Bev purchased for Jim as a birthday gift.
Approximately 20 Corvette owners meet at a rest stop Thursday off Interstate 55 in Jackson. The owners are driving to Memphis, Tennessee, as part of the St. Jude Corvette Drive which raises funds for the children’s research hospital.
“I guess the whole mindset change was actually visiting the hospitals,” Jim said. “The first year we participated we were able to go on the hospital campus and see all the tools they use, what they do, see the patients in the hospital and the medical staff and how they take care of their patients. It takes approximately $2.1 million a day to run the hospital, so for us to raise a quarter of a million dollars will pay for the hospital to run for four hours.
Since 2012, participants in the Corvette Drive have raised $1.7 million. The drive includes multiple different routes for drivers from surrounding states and they can begin the route from Effingham or Peoria, Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky, or St. Louis.
The Corvette Drive has continued to grow each year, according to Ruth Howard, a board member of the event.
“It’s an amazing vehicle and everyone is driving for the same cause. Everyone is responsible for raising donations and funds,” she said. “It’s a car that brought all these people together to raise money. Our love of our cars are out there making money to help these kids. It’s amazing. Last year, we had 53 Corvettes raise $280,000.”