DHS Communications Manager Kurt Larrick has organized the program since 2007. He was called to the front desk after he was told a gentleman had questions about the program.
“I was a little worried at first, but he only had three simple questions for me,” Larrick recalled.
First, the man wanted to know who, specifically, donations assist to ensure money donated stays in the community. Larrick confirmed the donations are strictly for Arlington residents, including low-income families, children in foster care, seniors and people with disabilities.
Next, he asked if any overhead or administrative costs would be taken from the total donation amount. Larrick said he again seemed to give a satisfactory answer, explaining that all donations that come in “go right back out.”
Finally, the man asked if there was a donation limit. Upon hearing there wasn’t, he said he wanted to write a check for $10,000.
“I told him that would be incredible,” Larrick said. “He was a really nice, kind gentleman.”
That $10,000 will be used to purchase hundreds of gift cards for local grocery, clothing, convenience and department stores.
Though the soft deadline for the collection has passed, Larrick said interested residents are still encouraged to contribute to the cause by mailing or hand-delivering donations to DHS.
Last year, the Secret Santa program raised $54,000 in gift cards and donations, and Larrick expects this year’s final count to be about the same. He added the program is mostly supported by small donations from community members of all ages — which are important no matter the amount.
“This donation was obviously huge and very generous,” he said. “But for every donation, big or small, there’s always a great story behind it.”
File photo via Macy’s