Amazing! Spectacular! Wow! These are just a few words I’d use to describe what a great turn out we had at Christmas in the Park this year. AfterHours Denver has been hosting Christmas in the Park for many years and each year it’s getting bigger and bigger.
Every year, we’ve been blessed to have other spiritual organizations and private citizens join us with our fundraising efforts and physically join us at the park to spread joy and love on Christmas Day. This year we had almost 700 volunteers (691 to be exact) come to the park with all types of things to give away. If you live in Denver and haven’t experienced Christmas in the Park, it’s something that you must experience at least once in your lifetime. Hopefully, you’ll be hooked and join us every year from then on!
In addition to all of the individual “day of” contributions and monetary donations we received on our website in the months before CIP, we have to give a huge shout out to the other organizations that help make this a success year after year. These individuals and organizations (other churches and homeless non-profits in Denver) brought blankets, non-perishable food, toiletry bags filled with different things for the guys and ladies, toys for kids, all types of clothing and so much more to the park. AfterHours Denver was able to obtain a record number of (640) brand new sleeping bags donated by individuals, church groups, and other homeless organizations. We had sleeping bags shipped to us from all over the country. They came from 23 other states. Let that sink in for a minute. 23 other states heard about Christmas in the Park and wanted to help, so people from those states sent sleeping bags to Denver! Again, wow!
In fact, we had so many sleeping bags and coats (500 coats that AfterHours Denver was able to purchase with donation money) that we had to get a large cargo truck donated to be able to transport it all to the park. Along with the truck being donated, we had food (grilled hamburgers and hot dogs), water and dumpsters donated from the community.
Putting on a day in the park like this is a giant job and wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the AfterHours Denver crew (there are too many to mention one by one) and all of the other volunteers from this amazing city. The volunteers this year were made up of church groups, members of local businesses, a large Jewish organization, and unaffiliated community members.
We served more than 1,000 people this year in the park. With everyone working together, we were able to feed, clothe, and give hope to 1,000 people who otherwise may have been on their own and hungry on Christmas. I know for a fact that we put smiles on a lot of faces and hope in many hearts.