Donors Make Holiday Dreams Come True Through NASB North Pole

Want to give back this holiday season? We are still in need of generous donors to Sponsor-A-Youth and buy gifts for our Gift Gallery program. We need your help to make sure the kids and families we serve have presents to open this December! Learn more and get involved today!

Some days, Carol Hobbs feels like she’s married to Santa. Her husband, Richard, may not sport the white beard or the big round belly, but every December, he and Carol donate several bags full of toys to NASB’s North Pole. 

NASB North Pole is a holiday destination spreading the joy of the season to over 1,500 children and families in the Kansas City area through the Gift Gallery and the Sponsor-A-Youth programs. To make this annual endeavor possible, Cornerstones of Care relies heavily on corporate and individual donors like Carol and Richard to supply the gifts that families receive during the holidays.

Richard’s journey to becoming Santa began when he discovered a dumpster full of perfectly good toys behind a thrift store. He was appalled that the items were being thrown out just because they hadn’t been purchased and wanted to do something about it.

“His mantra is ‘saving the landfills, one item at a time,’” said Carol.

 In 2011, Richard started selling items found at thrift stores on the Amazon Marketplace under the name RCH Mercantile. With Carol’s help as bookkeeper, the Hobbs’ basement became a warehouse, and the venture grew into a profitable business.

But every few weeks, Amazon sends a message telling sellers that they can no longer sell certain items or brands – like all Mattel products – on their platform, leaving people like Richard with dozens of quality items and nowhere to sell them.

Serendipitously, that was when Carol and Richard got a message about the Gift Gallery and a request for donated gifts. For four days in December, the Gift Gallery is open for families in our programs to pick out gifts. 

“We said, ‘Oh, we can help with that!’” said Carol. “It was so easy. We had things we wanted to give away.”

The decision to donate to NASB’s North Pole was made easier by the fact that Carol and Richard had already been supporters of Cornerstones of Care since moving to Kansas City in 2004 and living just blocks from the headquarters in Waldo.  

“I would much rather support Cornerstones of Care because I know and see the organization rather than send money somewhere to feed the children,” said Carol. “There’s a relationship there.”

She and Richard also believe in the organization’s community-based approach that prioritizes working with entire families and communities instead of just ‘rescuing’ a child from their difficult situation.

As the Hobbs inventory their warehouse and assemble items they want to donate to NASB’s North Pole, Beverly Parkhurst, a retired Raytown, Mo. teacher, makes her final few trips to the store for toys.

“I think about it all year,” said Beverly. “I start Christmas shopping for the Gift Gallery in January.” She keeps an eye out for sales and stores her findings at home until the holiday season.

Years earlier, in the 1980s, Beverly first learned about the Gillis School, now part of Cornerstones of Care. Her husband was coaching a YMCA soccer team, and the school sent two young boys to play on the team.

“They really brought into our world the idea of kids living in group care,” said Beverly.

For nearly three decades after that, Beverly and her husband donated items to Cornerstones of Care. Beverly also has attended the Plant Sale at the Ozanam Campus every year since its inception. The plants sold at the sale are cared for by students at the Ozanam Campus Day Treatment School and the Build Trybe program.

“I just love talking to the kids working there,” said Beverly. “They are so proud of what they’ve done.”

Beverly’s giving spirit is heavily inspired by her role as a grandparent to four boys, ages 17, 16, 15, and 6. One of her grandchildren is adopted from foster care, bringing the reality of foster care close to home.

Beverly loves Christmas and buying gifts for the boys, and it’s difficult for her to imagine families that cannot afford to buy anything for their kids this time of year.

“I could tear up talking about it,” she said.

As she shops, Beverly tries to keep in mind the diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds of the children and families that will receive the gifts and to buy things that will last.

Doing this type of philanthropy work helps you realize what you have and that there is so much to be grateful for this time of year, said Beverly.

“I think if you go outside yourself to help others, you start to feel better,” said Beverly. It’s a spiritual experience, said Beverly, and she plans to continue donating gifts for years to come.

Feeling inspired by Carol, Beverly, and Richard? We are still in need of generous donors to Sponsor-A-Youth and buy gifts for our Gift Gallery program. We need your help to make sure the kids and families we serve have presents to open this December! Learn more and get involved today!