EAGLE COUNTY — A few years ago, Greg Garman had some extra money in his pocket around Christmas and was looking for something good to do with it, something that didn’t include Tickle Me Elmo or the latest consumer craze.
A friend working with foster kids explained that if she didn’t come up with some money, then the kids would have no Christmas.
“How much does it take to help a kid?” Garman asked.
“One hundred bucks,” she answered.
He was flabbergasted that, for $100, he could provide Christmas for a kid and help the family.
“To know I wasn’t just throwing money into an anonymous pile was very gratifying,” he said.
So that’s what he did, and it felt so good he did it again.
He pulled together a group of friends and they started Kids Christmas Fund two years ago. They pair donors with severely impoverished kids who won’t have any sort of Christmas if they don’t get some help.
“I’m hoping for a new set of clothes for Christmas. I’m going to be a cop when I grow up. My favorite movie is ‘Transformers,’ and I’m good at playing board games.”
Miguel, 11 years old
No one gets paid to do this. It’s a team of friends who donate their time and talent.
One is August Ritter, son of former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, who works on the West Coast with NationBuilder. He built the website, and it’s killer.
Last year, Garman built a site and got 24 kids sponsored in 48 hours. This year, they are expanding to 78 kids, and they’re almost all sponsored.
“I’m hoping for a new set of clothes for Christmas. I’m going to build houses when I grow up. My favorite movie is ‘Harry Potter,’ and I’m good at playing board games.”
Gabriel H., 12 years old
The Kids Christmas Fund works with two organizations: the local day program at the Mental Health Center of Denver and a home for Mexican street boys, Ipoderac, a nonprofit organization in Puebla, Mexico, for boys who have lived on the street and/or have been abandoned. It tries to give the boys as normal a childhood as possible, given the absence of a family structure.
“I’m hoping for a new set of clothes for Christmas. I’m going to be a fireman when I grow up. My favorite movies are the ‘Twilight’ movies, and I’m good at volleyball.”
Paris, 12 years old
“These are very impoverished people who won’t have a Christmas unless someone helps them,” Garman said.
The Kids Christmas Fund is a 100 percent donation model, which means that when you go on the website and pick a kid, every dime of your $100 donation goes to that kid.
Money is always tight around the holidays, so you can donate as little as $25, which still makes a huge difference, Garman said.
Garman was raised in the valley and is the owner/fashion and creative director of the clothing company Cartel Noir. It’s based in Denver, In just a few short years Garman has taken his edge creations nationwide and is making inroads into Europe.
“It’s what the people who walk the red carpet wear on their day off,” Garman said.
They make every single piece in Denver, which makes him one of the only living U.S.-based textile manufacturers.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.