THORNTON, Colo. — Dozens of families stopped by Tarver Elementary School in Thornton Sunday afternoon to drop off some much-needed gift cards for three families displaced by a fire Friday night.
"What you see here is the Tarver community coming together to support one of our Tarver families who lost a home," principal Chris Trujillo said.
Car after car lined up, helping to fill bin after bin with gift cards to Target, Kohl's, King Soopers and other stores.
I can’t stop smiling. We’ve witnessed dozens of families dropping off gift cards here at Tarver Elementary in Thornton for the three families who were displaced by a fire Friday night.— Pattrik Perez (@PattrikPerez) November 21, 2021
Just a reminder there are awesome people in this world! @DenverChannel pic.twitter.com/HGAWGO7V21
"It was just, simply ... any little thing is going to help a family in this time," Trujillo said.
Friday night's fire happened just minutes from the school, destroying one home and damaging two others. It forced three families to find somewhere else to live just before the holidays. One of the families' kids, a second-grader and kindergartener, attends Tarver.
"I just thought if that happened to me, it would be devastating," Maggie Keaton, an elementary school teacher for Adams 12, said.
She dropped off three $50 Target gift cards. The donation was made possible by her mother in New Jersey who saw a post about the gift card drive on social media.
"She said, 'If I sent you $150, would you give three gift cards to the three families?' So I'm actually purchasing these on her behalf, which is amazing," Keaton said. "She's such a giver."
And while the fire may have extinguished the holiday spirit, the community is hoping to restart it, beginning with kindness.
"We might need a bigger bin, yeah. This is an event that blew up bigger than we anticipated," Trujillo said.
The Thornton Fire Department hasn't said what started the fire that spread to all three homes, but one of the homeowners told Denver7 Friday night they believed an electric smoker they were using to cook may have caused the fire.