DENVER 12.10.16 – A whopping 641 families across Colorado opened their hearts and wallets Saturday to give a record number 2,500 children in in the Denver Housing Authority presents for Christmas. That’s 25-percent more children who were served than last year.
That’s the most families ever involved and the most children served since the face-to-face giving program began in 2010. A record 130 volunteers also participated in the event on December 10, 2016.
The families gave gifts to children they chose to help, in person, who live in the poorest area of the state. Eighty-five percent of their parents earn less than 11,000 a year, according to the Denver Post.
The parents of the children say they’re grateful for the help from Coloradans.
“We would like to thank the wonderful family that took the time out to purchase gifts for my children this holiday season. As we know, you too have a family of your own and for you to be very considerate to think of other during this time, is very thoughtful and we appreciate it greatly. I thank God for your family and pray that you all have a bless Christmas and receive all the gifts you wish for as well,” said Tawana Kentris, who lives in the projects.
The children, families and businesses who give the gifts like the Santa’s Elves program because it allows them to meet the person they’re helping and get them toys, shoes and clothes they really desire.
“We think this is awesome for our kids. They look forward to it every year. Just getting to help out and make Christmas special for someone else here at home matters,” said Shelly Pachelli.
During the event, volunteers helped families connect with the residents to make sure everyone received something to open that day or put under their tree.
“This has nothing has to do with giving presents. It’s about the transfer of love. It’s the connection with the community and the people,” said volunteer Lisa Cleveland. “We (volunteers ) get the most out of this day because we get to witness the moments all day long. Givers give the gifts, but we get the benefit of seeing people’s faces. It’s unbelievable.”
Major businesses and groups were involved in the event this year, including KOOL 105 radio, Batteries Plus Bulbs, the Denver Nugget Ambassadors, Subway, Girl Scouts of Colorado, the Confluence Ministry Band and many more.
Santa’s Elves is produced by the nonprofit KidsGiving365, which strives to get children involved in community service. This is one of several events the nonprofit holds every year, to further its mission of creating the next generation of givers.
“This has taught my daughters that they can make a difference when they choose to. Since they’ve been involved, they’ve wanted to continue doing things for others year-round; the young, the old…anyone who needs the help,” said Stella Castro, co-founder of KidsGiving365.
People who want to learn more about volunteering and community service can go to the website KidsGiving365.org to sign up and volunteer.