Bob Telmosse Christmas Giveaway readies for its 31st year

By Jakob Rodgers Updated: December 17, 2013 at 7:43 am • Published: December 16, 2013 | 5:10 pm 0

One of the year's biggest toy giveaways will occur this weekend, when area children will get the chance to receive presents and parents have the opportunity get food for a holiday meal.

The Bob Telmosse Christmas Giveaway will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Freedom Financial Services Expo Center, 3650 N. Nevada Ave.

In its 31st year, the event distributes gifts with no questions asked; financial documents or tickets aren't required. Children will be given one toy each and the chance to receive a bicycle, while parents can get a turkey, potatoes or canned vegetables.

Last year, about 6,000 children received gifts at the event, which was on a Friday. This year, far more are expected because it's on a Saturday.

The only catch: Each child must be in attendance to receive a gift.

"We will take care of people until we run out of stuff," said Tom Zurenko, president of the Bob Telmosse Foundation, which hosts the event.

A little help is needed to make sure their coffers don't run empty, Zurenko said.

Donations from organizations that hosted toy drives across the Pikes Peak region are still coming in, he said. But monetary donations have lagged last year's totals.

In 2012, the organization gave away 535 bicycles, at least 1,200 turkeys and more than 8,000 pounds of potatoes.

Organizers also raised more than $27,000 - an essential component of the event, because $50 can provide a family of four with dinner and toys for two children, event organizers said.

So far this year, officials have raised about $12,200, Zurenko said.

"I'm concerned we're going to tap into our reserves hard this year," he said.

But the event isn't just focused on giving toys to children.

Organizers also plan to teach the value of gift-giving to each child who benefits.

Children can pick out a gift for their parents or caregivers, and volunteers will wrap it for them.

"Bob wanted the kids to learn about giving," Zurenko said of Telmosse who died in 2006. "(He) wanted them to realize that this isn't all about 'me, me, me...' He wanted the kids to really understand that part of Christmas is giving."

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