Christmas Wishes Granted for Vandalized Charity

Kidz Korna's van was torched by vandals last month

By Kim Vatis and Courtney O'Callaghan
|  Thursday, Dec 23, 2010  |  Updated 6:26 PM CDT
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Kidz Korna's van was torched by vandals last month.

Kidz Korna's van was torched by vandals last month.

There was a miracle on 79th Street in Chicago on Thursday.

Children of the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood found holiday comfort in the generosity of others after getting close to going without this year.

A long line ran out the door of Kidz Korna, the local community organization responsible for the drive. The Secret Santa-like event lit of the faces of the children, many exclaiming at every toolbox, Barbie, or book they received.

Gift pick-ups were put on hold earlier last month when a van used to pick up donated toys was set fire on the South Side. Volunteers of Kidz Korna were concerned that they would not collect enough gifts for year five of the giveaway.

"We lost hope that day. It wasn't just the van being set on fire," said founder Delece Williams, thinking of the 7,000 kids till on the waitlist. "It was hope."

What's Christmas without the miracle?

Hearing of the Grinch who burned Christmas, the Chicagoland community and do-gooders nation wide stepped up.

"We got calls from Denver and New York," said volunteer Delece Williams. "A lady from New York sent us a donation. Her kids sacrificed their toys to help us and we are so grateful."

While a 'naughty' action, the burning of the van provoked a 'nice' outcome, bringing in donations totaling over $40 thousand and several new vans all bearing bows.

The donations were one van too many for the charity. Victor McDuffy received a one of the vans so he could go to work again.

"My last car was a junker and broke down. I was blessed," he said.

Parents joined their children at the gift collection, expressing even more gratitude than their children for the success of the drive.

A mother of six loaded up for the holidays.

"It's a struggle, so this is a really big blessing," she said.

Kidz Korna is dedicated to the motivation, education and inspiration of at-risk youth. With every gift given, the families give their own promise to stop the violence in their neighborhood.

"It’s Christmas. A merry Christmas," said Williams.

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