Thirty years ago tonight, on Christmas Eve 1990, an anonymous group of KC residents decided to build a playground overnight in the backyard of a family that was struggling to get by. That was the start of a group of hundreds of metro area volunteers that call themselves ‘The Elves of Christmas Present’.
Each Christmas Eve, the Elves work to make unique and lasting memories for a dozen or so KC families that are facing real adversity in their lives. To say these memories are unique… well, one Kansas City boy and his parents were transported back to the middle of a Civil War battle to deliver a Christmas gift that Santa had missed. A metro area girl traveled to the Supreme Court for a private tour of the place from Justice Sotomayor. Another saw a poem he had written for his sister get illustrated by nationally known comic strip artists and distributed as a coloring book to children’s hospitals throughout the country.
2020 posed some unique challenges for this anonymous group of elves. Most of their projects are for families where a child is facing serious health challenges, and in the midst of a pandemic, it was critical that these brave and amazing young people be kept safe at all costs. On top of that, well… at his age and belt size, Santa is a bit of a high risk case himself! So the Elves partnered with Zoom to set up something special.
Nine children, from Hays, Kansas to St. Joe, Missouri and throughout the metro, have all given some of their valuable time to help plan a special Christmas for a family they don’t even know. All nine of these heroic young people did this despite the fact that they are busy fighting their own significant health challenges. What these kids didn’t know was that another child in this circle was planning out a surprise Christmas for them and their family as well.
Santa and Mrs. Claus held Zoom calls with each of these children - not to ask what they wanted for Christmas, but to tell them about this other child and their family and to solicit their ideas on how to make Christmas special for them.
Since Santa needs to play it safe during the pandemic too, he’s enlisted the help of law enforcement officers from throughout the metro to help deliver the gifts. Throughout today, the officers, with their special child joining them on a virtual ride along, went about delivering these presents. We want to share the video of those encounters with you tonight.
Tonight, we’re going to introduce you to these nine children, and we hope that you will join us in appreciating just how special and selfless they are.