Tom Munds Ringing telephones and the hum of conversation provide the background as a small army of volunteers, including Englewood police officers …
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Ringing telephones and the hum of conversation provide the
background as a small army of volunteers, including Englewood
police officers Bob Fieger and Steve Kunst pitch in to make it a
happier holiday season for needy kids through the annual Christmas
Crusade for Children.
Members of 43 police and fire agencies are part of the annual
project to fill wish lists for more than 5,000 children throughout
the metro area whose gift requests frequently ask for clothing
instead of toys.
Fieger has been an annual volunteer for about 15 years. He said
he likes the project because it’s nice to do something for kids.
He, like other Englewood officers, also work with the schools to
nominate needy children for the program.
Kunst also is a veteran volunteer with the program. He nominated
children and has delivered presents for more than a decade, but
this is his first time working at the collection center.
“I like knocking on the door with a bag of gifts so I can see
the look on the child’s face when they receive the gift bag,” he
said. “But this is fun, too, because I feel I am still helping
The Christmas Crusade for Children has been around for 28 years
and has worked with radio station KYGO for the last 25 of those
Starting in November, police officers and firefighters around
the metro area submit the names of kids and gift wishes of kids who
otherwise would receive little or nothing for Christmas.
Each nominated child is listed in the crusade computer and
assigned a number. As part of the programming, radio station
KYGO-FM and AM station KRWZ broadcasts the child’s first name,
gender, age and gift wish. Listeners then call the hotline at
303-322-5437, agreeing to be the sponsor and fill the child’s gift
The sponsor buys the gifts and delivers them unwrapped to
crusade headquarters, 7075 W. Hampden Road.
Those who want to help also can make cash donations rather than
take on sponsoring individual children. This week, crusade
volunteers will use money collected to shop for gifts for children
who have no sponsors to ensure every gift request is filled.
The phone lines were staffed through Dec. 13 and the deadline
for sponsoring a specific child is Dec. 18. However, sponsors can
still make general donations after the deadline by calling the
crusade line and a volunteer will identify a child in need and
provide that child’s gift list.
John Kuhns, one of four volunteers, said it probably is a sign
of the economy that so many children are requesting clothing, even
underwear. He said it usually takes about $50 to fill a child’s
gift requests. However, he said he’s concerned because donations of
toys and money are down.
To illustrate the impact of declining donations, he said when
the officers went shopping last year, the rule was to spend $25-$30
per child. Unless more donations come in, he said the limit could
be down to about $20 this year.
David Hauser and Melissa Brown elected to sponsor two children
this year and Hauser delivered the gifts to the crusade center Dec.
“We feel we are very blessed, neither of us really need anything
for Christmas.” Hauser said. “So we decided to limit gift spending
for each other to about $10 and spend money we usually would have
spend on our gifts and it makes us feel good that we can buy a few
things to help a couple kids have a nicer Christmas.”
There was a time when most police departments did their own
version of the crusade. Two officers started the program that is
now the Christmas Crusade for Children 28 years ago and they
established the partnership with KYGO 25 years ago.
About 190,000 children have received gifts during the life of
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