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Christmas party thrown for children of Kansas City homicide victims

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the seventh year in a row, Healing Pathway Victim Services Organization, in partnership with KCPD hosted a Christmas celebration for children on Kansas City homicide victims.

For the more than 200 children benefiting from the event, Christmas came early.

“A lot of the children you see here today reflect some of our most recent homicide cases. They have really suffered through some really traumatic circumstances. Executive Director and Founder of Healing Pathway Victim Services Organization Monica Roberts said. "Today, they are able to be kids. We don’t talk about death. We don’t talk about anything except happiness."

The afternoon was full of presents, treats, hugs from Santa, and dances with KC Wolf, a time of joy during what could easily be some of the darkest periods in these children`s lives.

"July the 20th is when I got the phone call, said my son got killed. Very devastating phone call to get as a parent," Raven Stanford said.

Stanford came to the event because five of her grandchildren will never know their father. Twenty-seven year old Christopher Stanford was killed five months ago in Raytown.

She says she feels comfort surrounded in a room of more than 80 families who all share a similar story.

"It means a lot, you know. It's very helpful, encouraging, just great to be around people who have been through the same thing you have been though, whether it's a child or brother or sister," Standford said.

To most, this may seem like a regular holiday party in the gymnasium of the Patrol South Division of Kansas City's Police Department. But for others, it's a chance to simply be a kid.

Strangers who shopped for gifts months in advance and hard work from volunteers helped create this event for more than 200 children.

There were also more than 30 vendors.

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