Thousands get holiday boost at event

KRISTINA IODICE Updated: December 8, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: December 8, 2012

More than 10,000 people wound their way through the expansive Springs Church on Saturday to get a helpful boost for the holidays.

“It’s a blessing,” said Destra Velarde, 21, who came with her toddler son. “This year has been hard, and this helps a lot.”

The church was packed for hours for the 13th annual Feed the Children event. Smiling families left with carts of books, clothing, toys and boxes of food.

Wandering carolers entertained waiting families. Home Depot volunteers led a concert of hammering as kids built bird houses. Santa and the Grinch were available for photos.

Shauntel Reyes-Roberts, 38, wanted to thank all those who helped put it together.

“It was a good way to help families spend time together away from the stress of the holidays,” she said.

Feed the Children brings together the El Paso County Department of Human Services, Goodwill Industries, The Music Evangelism Foundation and a long list of other donors and volunteers. Donations cover all costs.

“It’s like throwing a big Christmas party,” said Kelly Wilkerson, who leads Mercy Springs, another partner.

Most of those registered for the event were families already receiving help.
The number families in need, especially those who require food assistance, said Becky Jacobs, DHS administrator and event coordinator.

Thirteen years ago, 25 families were helped.

This year, 10,050 people signed up, including nearly 6,000  children.

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