BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho (KIDK/KXPI) - KIDK Eyewitness News3 anchor Todd Kunz stumbled upon a Facebook page that is perfect for this time of year. It is perfect what what he was looking for. It helps people in need during the holidays and he gets to Pay It Forward.
Clandestine Kringle is the name of the page. What is it? Is it a secret communication pipeline right to the North Pole and the man in the red suit himself?
Kunz tried reaching out by messaging.
Yep. Kringle responded!
Kunz wanted to talk to him about what this project is he's doing, but he's so busy leading up to his big trip Christmas Eve. So Kringle put Kunz in touch with some of his local elves working as scouters and vetters in Eastern Idaho, elves like Mark Radford, Michele Mangum and Jim Mangum.
They said Clandestine Kringle has been doing this secret project in Eastern Idaho for five years. Families with needs, get posted on the Clandestine Kringle Facebook group page.
"Kringle will then take that information and give that family a Christmas name so that family stay anonymous," said Michele.
From there, that information gets posted on the group page for others to see. A person can either donate or adopt a family.
"It can be two, three, foum, five kids. We even have one family with 14 kids. That family was adopted by a business," said Michele.
She said the surrounding community has been great from sponsors to adopters to elf volunteers.
"This year is spectacular… as these families are dropping on our page, they are almost instantly being adopted," said Michele.
The goal this challenging year is about 75 families. That puts the number of kids in the hundreds.
Mark Radford's business, Kolby OffRoad, is one of the sponsors. He is one of the elves and passionate about helping Clandestine Kringle.
"I had a Christmas where we didn't get much... We had a guy show up and knocked on our door. It was a family. Knocked on the door. We opened the door and there was a whole bunch of presents and they took off and we didn't even know who it was... And I'll never forget that, never forget how I felt... And so when I was asked to help to pay for a sponsorship, I felt it was the right thing to do... And I know it's out there. I know people struggle. I know people are struggling right now with the whole thing and there's families out there that need a Christmas," said Radford.
And with that, it's time to Pay It Forward.
"You know the only thing that I can think of that is an antidote to this political unrest and everything else is love, love that we share with each other. And I found that this Clandestine Kringle is a way to do that. It's a way for many people to come in and be involved and come in and do this," said Radford.
"Jim, Michele, Mark, how are you guys?" said a man walking up to the three of them seated at a Christmas bench.
"Good," said Michele.
"Good," said Radford.
"Good, I'm Kory with Mountain America Credit Union. And we've heard about what you're doing with your organization and giving a little bit of magic back into our community. So we're here today to Pay It Forward. So I've brought with me today $500 in cash that I know that you can continue to spread your kindness, your magic through this time, and help those families in need. So on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, we'd like to Pay It Forward to guys."
"That's Awesome. Thank you," said Radford.
"Thank you so much," said Michele.
If you know of a family in need or would like to adopt a family for Christmas, go to the Clandestine Kringle group page here.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.