The history of Santa Pal dates back to 1936.
From the book Optimist Club History, in the fourteenth year of the Optimist club in 1936, Santa Pal was formalized for the first time:
"At the very last of October, 1936, upon recommendation of Optimist Les Owen, the Santa Pal project was outlined and a committee made ready to carry this project through.
Letters from various civic leaders encouraged Optimists to proceed with enthusiasm to carry the Santa Pal Movement through to its ultimate conclusion, which was to provide Christmas toys and cheer to underprivileged children in Asheville and various civic organizations, including especially the Asheville Red Cross Association , volunteered their services in connection therewith. It was announced through the Asheville Times that 500 children would be provided with Christmas cheer and a list of underprivileged children was secured and published in the hopes that the citizens of this community would sponsor those children.
This organization was divided into two parts, The Greens and the Reds, each section to vie with each other in the securing of pals for the children and as a result 617 underprivileged children were given a real Christmas day celebration, many of them for the first time in their lives.
The newspapers of the city cooperated splendidly and the movement as brought to a successful conclusion with a bang. It was thought advisable by this organization to incorporate the Santa Pal idea and articles of incorporation have been forwarded to the Secretary of State, thus perpetuating this laudable movement."