Christmas Saved For Kan. Family

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. --  Capt.Wes Lovett of the Prairie Village Police Department confirms for FOX  4 that police are investigating a series of burglaries.

Two of those break-ins happened on Christmas Eve. As we reported on Tuesday, those thefts cost at least one family their Christmas morning fun, as burglars stole their children's Christmas gifts.

The Leeper family says their telephones are ringing, and their inbox has been loaded with emails. On Christmas Day, we told you about their Christmas Eve heartbreak, as burglars took their TV, video games, and all of the gifts meant for their two little girls Police say criminals kicked in the front door, and took what they wanted.

Enter Michael Bergen. Try to think of him as Santa's helper -- in an SUV.

Michael's sleigh has been loaded for the past 18 years. He's the founder of Hands to Heart, a non-profit group that collects toys all year long, and donates them to kids who are in need. Bergen and his friends take up collections during charity motorcycle runs, and then, distributes them during the holidays.

"There's a motto I have that I firmly believe in," Berger said. "If we do not mend the hearts of our children, then who will mend the hearts of us when we are old?"

So far this year, Michael's group has given unexpected smiles to over 5,000 children. He says he's distributed toys to children in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and in other locales too.

Ted and Kirby Leeper had no idea Michael was coming to their door, which is now sealed off with tape to keep the cold out.

"I thought 'who the heck is that?' Kirby laughed.

Hands to Heart rolled in a kiddie kitchen, stuffed toys and a brand new bicycle too. Michael even brought small items for mom and dad, neither of whom are working full-time right now.

"'I'm still in shock," Kirby said. "I feel bad because I can't come up with the words. I am so thankful."

"The biggest reward you can get is when you see a little kid light up," Bergen said, while fighting back a tear. "Occasionally you get that kid who'll dive into your arms. That's what it's all about.

Friends from the Leeper children's classes at school have also donated gifts.

The Prairie Village Police Department is looking into the theft along with another identical theft just a few blocks away.

Here's a link to Hands to Heart's website.



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