Don’t believe in Santa Claus? Well, he is alive and well in Des Moines, Iowa. The Rooftop Foundation is holding its annual shopping tour for the underprivileged children of Moulton Elementary School on December 9, 2006. The Rooftop Foundation is the creation of Ken and Esta Deever – two of the most generous people I have ever met in my life.
Every year the Deevers and their elves load up two bus loads of children, provide the kids breakfast, and take them shopping for their families at the south side Wal-Mart on SE 14th in Des Moines. The children learn that it is better to give than to receive by purchasing gifts only for their family members – not themselves. Of course, the kids do get a special bag (loaded with presents from Santa) when they return to wrap their gifts at the school. If you have a chance to view the pictures on the Foundation’s Web site you will see that Ken is truly Santa Claus.
Last year Ken and Esta’s home burned to the ground just a few days before the 2005 event. Everyone in the home survived without injury but it was a scary experience indeed. Despite the personal tragedy, Ken and Esta, together with dozens of volunteers, pulled off a Christmas miracle by re-purchasing all the gifts that burned in the fire and wrapped them all again just 48 hours before the event. (Be sure to read this article by Mark Hansen of the Des Moines Register about the fire and last year’s Rooftop Foundation event).
Ken has also volunteered his time for other events this holiday season. In addition to his own program he is visiting children of Blank Children’s Hospital, appearing for numerous other charitable organizations and volunteering as Santa Claus a few nights at Jolly Holiday Lights in Water Works Park. As you can imagine his free time is quite limited this time of year.
It is an honor to serve as one of the Directors of the Rooftop Foundation. If you are looking for a charity to support this holiday season I encourge you to consider this organization. The Rooftop Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. All donations are tax deductible. If you are interested please email me and I can give you more information.
So this holiday season remember the motto of The Rooftop Foundation – "It is Better to Give Than to Receive".