Bringing Tempe Families Christmas Joy
The Tempe police department and a group of about a dozen citizens joined kenekt and The Jewelsmith in gathering gifts for children and cash for the Tempe families who were in need this Christmas season.
Our group of joyful volunteers met at the Jewelsmith at about 10:30 am Christmas Eve morning. Everyone participating brought unwrapped toys that had been collected throughout the month. The toys were all spread out on tarps in the parking lot so some of the older kids and adults who volunteered their time could sort the toys into age groups and gender. There were plenty of baby dolls, footballs and other fun toys for all ages that we knew would bring a smile to a childs face. While the toys were being sorted, a few people were inside The Jewelsmith store signing Christmas cards from Santa and stuffing them with $5 bills. Our happy elves worked hard as we prepared to head out.
By noon we were ready and Officer Burner of the Tempe Police Department arrived at our preparation site. All the sorted gifts were loaded into several trucks and three of Santa’s elves, jumped into the back of the Tempe Police SUV.
As we took to the streets the wind kicked up and the rain started, but that didn’t damper our Christmas spirit. We noticed there were fewer children outside playing because of the cold wet weather. Santa Ho Ho Hoed and sang Jingle Bells over the police cruisers public address system until the kids heard him and came running. The joy we saw in their faces brought warmth to our hearts on the cold, wet Christmas Eve.
Officer Burner walked among the parents who had gathered, talking to them and passing out the Christmas cards that contained $5 bills. Santa and his Elves mingled with each of the children individually and passed out gifts to each eager face.
This community event is on its 27th year and continues to be a joyful event for everyone involved. All in all this was a great day and great experience for the children and families who were recipients of the toy and cash donations and for the caring volunteers who are children at heart as they passed out gifts.
(Plus who doesn’t love seeing kenekt partner Terry Mickelson dressed up as a pretty cool Santa?!)
Thank you to everyone who donated and volunteered their time- we look forward to seeing you again next year!