Neal Boortz: How Clark Howard saves Christmas

Clark Howard is a tightwad.

Clark Howard isn’t an ordinary tightwad. He’s world-class. Clark Howard once took his boss to lunch ... at Wendy’s. There Clark bought one single hamburger and one single cheeseburger. He then sat at the table, took them apart, and reassembled them into a double cheeseburger. He saved around 70 cents. In New York, Clark once parked his rental car seven blocks away from his hotel ... the nearest free parking space he could find. He returned to his car the next morning to find it under a partially collapsed building.

World-class.

Clark Howard also has a huge heart. He has spent nearly $1 million of his own money building an entire neighborhood of Habitat for Humanity houses.

That brings us to Clark’s Christmas Kids. This is the 20th year for Clark Howard’s Christmas Kids. Clark can’t stand the thought of children in foster care in Georgia waking up on Christmas morning without some presents under the tree. So he and AM 750 and now 95.5FM News/Talk WSB join up with the Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services to provide gifts for children in foster care across Georgia. Here’s how it works:

The Clark Howard broadcast team sets up shop at an Atlanta-area Walmart. They bring with them information sheets on children in foster care describing the child and what he or she would like for Christmas. Howard fans then show up and look over the sheets describing these children in need, choose one and head to the toy department. After buying the gifts, they head back to the Christmas Kids tables, where the gifts are bagged and sent on their way to put a smile on some child’s face. DFCS tells us that Clark Howard and his listeners are responsible for more than half of the gifts received by children in foster care in Georgia each year.

Thursday I visited Clark’s Christmas Kids operation at the Walmart in Dunwoody (the only Walmart in Georgia that sells riding vacuum cleaners), and saw something very special. Parents were picking up their children from school and taking them to the Christmas Kids location. They would then allow the child to select one of Clark’s kids, do the shopping and pay a part of the cost of the gifts out of their own pockets.

The kids were absolutely loving it; and you can only imagine how they’re going to feel when they wake up on Christmas knowing that they, even at their young age, helped to provide a Christmas to some foster child they will probably never meet.

Last year DFCS faced a difficult last-minute problem. A drug sweep just before Christmas in South Georgia swept up a large group of parents and left scores of children headed for foster care with a bleak Christmas in their immediate future. DFCS got word to Clark, and our hero put his Christmas Kids campaign into overdrive, staying extra hours and calling in more listeners to make sure these children were taken care of.

There’s still time for you to be a part of this ... and to see the tightwad in person. Put on your Santa hat and head to the Roswell Walmart in the 3100 block of Johnson Ferry Road. Clark Howard’s Christmas Kids will be open for your own big heart from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Take your children ... teach them that Christmas is about giving. They’ll thank you for it, and so will some of Georgia’s foster children.

Oh, did I tell you that when Clark Howard has a shirt that needs cleaning he donates it to Goodwill? He knows that Goodwill must clean the shirt before they sell it. He then shows up at the thrift center to buy the shirt back for less than it would have cost him to get it dry cleaned.

Clark Howard is a tightwad. We need more tightwads like him.

Listen to Neal Boortz live from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on AM 750 and now 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

His column appears every Saturday. For more Boortz, go to boortz.com