By Dillon Thomas
DENVER (CBS4)– More than 13,000 more children in the Denver metro area will receive Christmas gifts this holiday season, thanks to the Denver Santa Claus Shop. The shop gives away free toys, and books, to those who qualify for the service.
“I feel blessed,” said Rosemarie Morales, one of the parents to receive gifts at the event.
Throughout the year, those with the shop collect, and purchase, new and gently used toys. Then, during a four-day period, they hand out more than $150,000 worth of gifts to those in need.
“This is the Denver community coming together,” said Lauren Crist-Fulk, President of the Denver Santa Claus Shop. “The joy it brings to the kids, it just brightens their day.”
Shoppers have to prove their qualification through Social Services. Then, they are given credits for each of their children under the age of 11. They then can walk through the shop, and claim any toy they want within their budget. The nicer the toy, the more points it is worth.
“It is kind of special. Because, I am happy to have free toys,” said Mariam Trarare, one of the shoppers.
Trarare, and some of her extended family and friends, visited the shop on opening day. They emigrated to the U.S. from Papua, New Guinea, and were grateful for their fellow Coloradans that helped make this happen.
“Especially when you have a lot of kids like me. I have six kids,” said Karim Kadiata, a shopper. “It is kind of hard (to afford gifts for the children), and (now) my kids are going to be happy.”
“We are going to surprise them,” Trarare said.
With bags full of presents for their children, many left the shop with smiles on their faces. And, kids were also given coupons to redeem free books.
“We just want to say thank you so much for giving us free gifts,” Kadiata said.
“God bless (the organizers). Thank you so much for making kids happy,” Trarare said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.