MISSION, Kan. – Santa and superheroes joined forces Monday evening for hundreds of children who won’t spend the holidays at home.
The Elite Comics community spent more than $20,000 on toys at the Target off W 61st Street and Metcalf Avenue before loading a 24-foot moving truck and driving the haul over to Children’s Mercy Hospital.
William Binderup runs Elite Comics. Throughout the year, he hosts different events to help raise money for this cause, and you can usually find a donation jar on the counter of his Overland Park shop.
“It’s from a comic book store. It’s not like a car dealership or Arrowhead," he said. "This is just like a bunch of these nerds from the comic shop raising $20,000, and it’s kind of cool.”
Many of the shoppers are comic fans, and some of them dressed up in costumes as specific characters for the shopping spree. It’s why people saw Santa, Elsa and Supergirl, among others, temporarily clearing off the shelves at Target.
“We plan ahead with this Target, so when we take every Paw Patrol item from the store, there’s a truck out back with more to put them back on the shelf!” Binderup said.
While the volunteers herd dozens of carts, it may seem on the surface like toy mayhem.
But believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness, and it only took about an hour.
“We’ve got a shopping list that comes from Children’s Mercy, saying here’s what we need for these kids," Binderup said. "Then we take it down and drop it off."
"And they set up an entire store downstairs at Children’s Mercy so parents can just come down, get the thing that their kid wants that’s in the hospital. They don’t have time to go out. They have a kid in the hospital.”
“The gift comes from their parents," he continued. "Even though it might be cool for Elsa or Supergirl to give you a gift, I think it’s better that it takes the stress off the parents. They’re under a lot of stress and pressure. Then the kid gets what they want from their folks.”
Jessica Porter suited up as Elite Supergirl.
“It’s not about charity work," she said. "It’s about the service to your community. If we can take this off your plate and do it for you, then that’s the point. You never know the effect of your ripple, so make sure it’s a positive one.”
FOX4 asked Binderup why he spends so much energy each year on this event. He said it boiled down to one thing.
“The only important thing in the world is kindness. If you don’t have that, everything else is lost," he said.
"You can be rich, you can be beautiful, you can be smart. If you’re not kind, it means nothing. This is all these people out of 100% kindness coming down here to give their money and their time and give their effort because they want to do something that matters.”