All parents want to play Santa

Share-A-Gift makes it possible |

When the two parents shyly entered the expansive Boulder warehouse filled with sparkling bikes, books, stuffed animals and games, relief seemed to flood their faces. They knew immediately that their children would get a visit from Santa this year.

As it has since 1972, the Share-A-Gift organization has again made it possible for less fortunate families to put gifts under the tree this Christmas. On Saturday, Share-A-Gift board members and an army of volunteers helped families (nominated through Boulder Valley School District) select and carry a few treasures home.

teddy bear“People seemed so happy that they could find a gift for each one of their kids, and a good gift at that,” explains Sophie DeFries, a Boulder High School sophomore who volunteered with the Boulder High Interact club.

All the great things offered at Share-A-Gift’s toy shop were donated by Boulder businesses, non-profits, church groups and others in a month-long toy drive that launched after Thanksgiving.

Share-A-Gift board member Laura Ford was a liaison to Boulder businesses during the drive, helping to set up collections, schedule pick ups, manage overflow (a good problem) and coordinate the massive logistics of moving toys from so many disparate locations to the toy shop.

“Today is my favorite day,” she explains to me, in between helping a mass of volunteers get to where they are needed most.

Eric Trevino, Matt Chetham, Chad Bruce, Parker Thiersch (and many more of their fellow players) volunteered from Boulder Rugby

Eric Trevino, Matt Chetham, Chad Bruce, Parker Thiersch (and many more of their fellow players) volunteered from Boulder Rugby

Ms. Ford exhibits remarkable energy for all she and her fellow board members have accomplished this year. Their efforts netted Christmas treasures for approximately 1,600 boys and girls – collected over a month and distributed during one remarkably well organized day.

Clearly, the logistics of pulling off such a feat are no small affair.

“We are absolutely a working board – a hard working board,” explains board member and RE/MAX of Boulder agent Lisa Wade. “But we get a lot of fulfillment from our efforts.”

That part is easy to see.

“I brought a bike down and the look on this mom’s face just melted my heart,” explains Sam Brown, a CU student, Fairview High School graduate, and Share-A-Gift volunteer representing Boulder Rugby.  “As she was leaving, she turned around and blew us all a kiss. That was my favorite part of today.”

Interactions like this one have called Mr. Brown to volunteer here for seven years running.

Regan McMahon, Shannon McCallan and Talbot Jenkins from Peak to Peak's Spanish Honor Society

Regan McMahon, Shannon McCallan and Talbot Jenkins from Peak to Peak’s Spanish Honor Society

Regan MacMahon, Shannon McCallan and Talbot Jenkins participated via the Spanish Honor Society of Peak to Peak Charter School. They were encouraged to volunteer – along with 55 of their peers – by teacher Andy Mathews. The girls chatted comfortably with Spanish speaking parents, helping them to select toys for toddlers.

Jacques Decalo, a student at Catalyst High School in Lafayette and also a Boulder Rugby player, was on hand for heavy lifting and any other task assigned to him.

“I just helped a guy who lost his job last month and needed some help with Christmas presents,” Mr. Decalo explains. “He was really grateful.”