Boddie-Noell Enterprises brought out the red carpet and velvet ropes to welcome 50 elementary school children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region’s after-school program to its home office for its “We Believe in Children” Christmas event.

Boddie-Noell employees embodied the spirit of Christmas by dressing as elves to entertain the children as they decorated ornaments, ate snacks and received a stocking filled with Christmas books, a coloring book and crayons.

Children also had their photo taken with jolly ol’ Saint Nicholas himself, also known to BNE colleagues as Software Programmer Don Small, as well as Hardee, Hardee’s star mascot, played by Asset Protection Coordinator Ashley Lane.

“What an awesome experience our club members had at Boddie-Noell’s We Believe in Children Christmas event,” said Ron Green, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region. “Our club members had a wonderful time participating in all of the activities this year. It was wonderful to see all of the Boddie-Noell Enterprises employees dressed up as Santa and his elves as they engaged with our members throughout the night. And let me not forget the Hardee’s Star, who was definitely a show stopper.

“It is partnerships like this that afford our youth the opportunities to become positive, productive citizens. We are extremely thankful to Boddie-Noell Enterprises for creating some Christmas magic for our kids,” said Green.

Driven to fulfill their company purpose of using their resources to be a positive influence on people’s lives wherever and whenever they can, the Boddie-Noell event was developed as part of a company campaign focused on providing children with opportunities in the Rocky Mount community, according to BNE Director of Corporate Support Services Bunn Boddie.

“Being a part of such an engaged and thoughtful company is one of many reasons I love working for Boddie-Noell Enterprises,” said BNE Project Manager Kaleigh Yenney. “There is always an opportunity to become involved in the Rocky Mount community, whether through the annual We Believe in Children event, Meals on Wheels or our senior citizen gift bag program — we always get a chance to do good.

Although active in charities throughout the country as the nation’s largest Hardee’s franchise operator, the family-owned company remains committed to the city they call home, Boddie said.

“Rocky Mount means a lot to BNE,” Boddie said. “The company was founded here in 1962 by Mayo and Nick Boddie, along with their uncle Carleton Noell, in one of the rooms of the Carleton House.”

“While the Home Office team currently provides support to our Rocky Mount community through many avenues including supporting the United Way, Peacemakers, Special Olympics, our Back to School Drive and our Senior Citizen Christmas Gift bag program, the Home Office Committee felt we needed to do something with children surrounding Christmas,” Boddie said.

“The name of the campaign “We Believe in Children” is a direct reflection of BNE’s corporate motto “We Believe in People,”Boddie said. “Our children are the future, and by hosting an event where we can provide a magical experience to children is something we are proud to call our own. As a company, we are committed to help ensure the future of our city is built on strong character and values instilled in the next generation.

“It truly was a humbling experience knowing the future of Rocky Mount was right there, telling Santa what they wanted for Christmas.”