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Denver HUD Donates Gifts to Students
HUD staff members, with Santa's help, handed out gift bags containing brand new shoes and socks at Denver's Columbine Elementary School on December 17, 2012. For more than a decade, the Region VIII staff has taken part in this Annual Holiday Gift Program to benefit Denver Public School Head Start students. These students come from predominantly low-income families who are at or below the poverty level.
This year more than 125 HUD employees donated a record 306 pairs of shoes and socks to children ages 3 to 5 years old. HUD's Rocky Mountain Deputy Regional Administrator, Dan Gomez Jr., remarked on this year's participation. "I am so proud of all the members of our Denver team who donated their time, energy and effort to make this year's shoe drive such a success. It's an excellent example of their genuine desire and commitment to meet the needs of the community, no matter how small." He went on to say, "When you see the smiles on these kids' faces, you only want to do more."
HUD's Multifamily Director of Project Management, and one of the organizers of this year's event, Linda Cluck, looked across the bustling room of children as they marveled at their gifts. When asked why she participates in the event year after year, she said with tears in her eyes, "This might be the only gift these kids get this year."
The school's Family Liaison Specialist and Case Worker, Nydia Gonzales, agreed. "We've got a lot of single parents this year and a lot of single dads. Most of these children exist below the poverty level and come from large families, so to be able to have their own pair of shoes that they don't have to share with a sibling…it's huge for them." It's also a reminder of just how fortunate we all are and how even a small gift like a pair of shoes can mean so much to a child.
Content Archived: December 31, 2013