DENVER – They arrived with their arms full of gifts, their eyes searching the room for the

Girl receives gift from a child in 2013

family of children they were going to help. Elves young and old, parents, business owners, celebrities and volunteers showed up at the Rude Recreation Center in Denver on December 14, 2013 for the Santa’s Elves – Kids Giving to Kids event.

This year, a record number of families chose to be “elves”, which means they shopped, wrapped and gave gifts to needy children around the holiday. In 2013, the charity helped nearly four times the number of kids than last year–more than 1,200.

Some of the family meetings were magic.

After a few shy smiles and introductions, children receiving the gifts sat down on the gym floor, ripped open the presents and screamed with delight while the child givers stood next to their parents, beaming with pride. After that, it was all hugs and thanks.

Hungry volunteers in 2013

“My family and I would like to thank all of you whom made this Christmas very special for the kids. This is one Christmas that the kids will never forget due to your generosity and kindness,” said the Phan family. “The kids all received everything that they asked for and could not have been more excited.  I want to thank everyone and let everyone know that you are all very special and may God bless you and peace be with you.”

“I wanted to say a huge thank you to the elves and the adopting

Families connect and create memories in 2013

company summit power group for providing my three boys with beautiful gifts and giving me and their dad some smiles for the season. Our family is currently in credit repair to be able to buy a home and my husband is the only one able to be employed outside our home leaving us with empty hands at times. While we understand the long term goal is better then the short term money our children just want to be normal and have normal holidays and for this we are extremely greatful that the elves and adopting,” said Mrs. Smith.

Many of the giving families left with great memories.
“The opportunity to give to a deserving family tugs strongly on my heart strings.  I’m (as well as the others that contributed) a believer in giving however, growing up in extreme poverty as a Side Creek student makes supporting your students’ family an incredibly special experience,” said Carl.

Carl Grismore was our amazing project leader in 2013. Under his leadership, people gave the most in the charity’s history.

None of it would have been possible without our board of directors, led by project manager Carl Grismore. He handled the flow of givers and receivers throughout the day flawlessly.  We also need to thank our many volunteers, who helped families make connections. They were vital to the success of our event. James Salinas of the Rude Recreation Center and Phu Do of the Denver Housing Authority helped us find–and reach–the neediest children in Colorado, children who normally fall through the cracks of other giving programs during the holidays.

The human catalysts for the idea have stood beside mom Deborah

Child dresses up to deliver his gifts to other children, 2013