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Blog
December 22, 2023

Listeners of Audacy’s Mix 96.5 Fuel Sarah Pepper & Jessie Watt’s Southwest Santa Express

Co-hosts of Audacy’s “Sarah Pepper & Jessie Watt Mornings” on Mix 96.5 (KHMX-FM), Sarah Pepper and Jessie Watt spread Christmas cheer to 30 families from DePelchin Children’s Center on Saturday, December 9, with their Southwest Santa Express at Houston’s Hobby Airport Hangar. The festivities recognized the $32,000 in donations collected, including a $25,000 contribution from LyondellBasell. Hot chocolate, cookies and a surprise appearance from Santa Claus, who traded his sleigh for a Troll’s inspired airplane, celebrated 1,500 children in DePelchin’s care who had their Christmas wishes come true. 

“This is something that I have wanted to do for years and have been working on since April, and it was pure magic watching the children’s eyes as Santa waved to them coming into the hangar,” said Pepper.

After receiving a boarding pass to tour the plane, the children later exchanged their baggage tags for gifts purchased on an Amazon wish list by Mix 96.5 listeners, acting as checked bags.

“Working with Sarah Pepper, I’ve seen firsthand how she can make magic happen out of thin air, and this is one of those moments,” said Watt. “I’m so excited to help her create a lasting memory for the children of DePelchin and spread holiday joy to a community that deserves it all. Sarah has always thrived on giving back to the Houston community in every way she can, dreaming as big as Santa’s Workshop. We are grateful to Southwest Airlines, LyondellBasell, HEB and Houston Airports for sharing all their passion, efforts, and resources to make this dream come true.”

Along with the presents distributed via Sarah Pepper & Jessie Watt’s Southwest Santa Express, the DePelchin donation center has filled their facility to the brim, with packages still arriving.

DePelchin Children’s Center provides children and families the support needed to build safe and loving homes, whether that be through foster care and adoption services, counseling, parenting classes, or other programs aimed at overcoming trauma. 

Pepper reflected on the giving season. “This is what radio does; it creates magic, and every child should experience the magic of Christmas.” 

Sarah Pepper & Jessie Watt’s Southwest Santa Express is a part of Audacy’s commitment to making a meaningful difference at scale by using its reach and personal connection with listeners to advance social causes and build sound communities. 

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