As we approach Christmas, creating cheerful memories for families and individuals in our STAR Transitional Program is particularly important. At this year’s Broncos Holiday Party, which is sponsored by the Denver Broncos, players were not able to attend in-person. But this did not stop them from spreading holiday cheer.

This year, Broncos players chose a Christmas book and recorded themselves reading to the kids and families in the program. The videos were then compiled and played on a large screen for people to watch as they waited in line for a to-go meal. As families arrived at the annual holiday party hosted at The Crossing’s cafe—many sporting Broncos shirts, hats or even masks—they were welcomed by staff in Santa hats as they waited in line for a delicious holiday meal. Chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes, veggies, and pecan pie were just a few of the items prepared for the Christmas feast.

The Broncos game-day DJ played holiday hits and greeted everyone with a personal shout-out as they received their Christmas gift from two Denver Broncos cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot. Each gift bag was filled with a Denver Broncos blanket, a bag of chocolate, hot cocoa, and marshmallows. Bags for families also included a gingerbread house kit, an fun activity that will allow them to spend time together.

Although the children were not able to personally interact with Broncos players this year, they beamed with excitement as they met the cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot, who made the families feel special by having a conversation with them and taking socially distanced pictures together.

The children then went to the Denver Broncos Youth Center to create a foam gingerbread house door hanger. The room was filled with snowflakes, stockings, a Christmas tree, and more. Laughter and smiles filled the room as kids made crafts and listened as the Broncos players read stories like The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Our hope through this holiday party is to create a memorable Christmas celebration for our families in our program. They may have had difficult Christmases in the past when facing homelessness, and this year, COVID-19 hasn’t made their circumstances any easier. The hope is that one day, when they think about their time at the Mission, they’re reminded of the moments they were celebrated by the Denver Broncos, made holiday crafts in the Broncos Room and enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner.

We’re so grateful for the support of the Denver Broncos. Their sponsorship of the annual holiday party and the time they dedicate to make kids at the Mission feel special—even though that meant virtually this year—is deeply appreciated!

Written by: Linneya Gardner, Content and Photography Intern