COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- A familiar face wandered the halls of Kemp Elementary on Wednesday. Santa surprised nearly 500 students with a school-wide Christmas party.
It was made possible by Commerce City’s Landing Place Church. Parishioners there turned their misfortune into meaning for these students.
In October, Landing Place’s trailer was stolen. NextGen Youth Pastor Aaron Cordova said the church lost about $25,000 worth of equipment.
“A trailer we had on land that we owned was stolen, unfortunately,” Pastor Cordova said.
Inside the trailer was a large bouncy castle for kids, a brand new large movie screen, tents and tables, and other items used to serve the community.
“It happens. I wish it didn’t, but it did. So, we’re like, you know what, let’s move forward,” Cordova said.
On Wednesday afternoon, NextGen Youth volunteers packed the trunks of several trucks with gifts from the money they raised.
In a release, the church announced, “Through the amazing support of our community and outpouring of so many, we have been blessed to replace that trailer and more.”
The church's youth group raised $14,000 for four community projects.
“They raised all the dollars to make this happen, they believed in the cause,” Cordova said about the church’s youth group.
Their cause was to carry on the Christmas spirit.
He added, “We just have a group of students who want to do and make a difference for students who could really use it this year.”
Santa’s surprise visit and school-wide Christmas party was the fourth community project. Half of the money raised went into purchasing blankets and board games for the students.
“To know that no kid is going to go without a present this year at that school feels amazing,” Cordova said. “Something fun and something practical.”
Cordova said the church was also gifting school staff with gift cards, and the school itself with $2,000.