Littleton, Colo. — The Littleton Elks Lodge looks more like the "elf's lodge" this time of year, and it's all in the name of the Christmas spirit.
"We should've all had our little elf hats on," Charlotte Lattin joked.
For Lattin, who's married to a veteran, providing presents is a small way to give back to families who have sacrificed so much.
"It means so much to us to be able to do a little bit for these families," Lattin said.
The gifts are headed to 11 Fort Carson Gold Star families, kids whose parents left to serve, and never came home.
"Especially the little small kids are thinking the parents are coming home, but they're not coming home. It's hard for them to deal with it," Lattin said.
Each year, Lattin and volunteers collect donations from various VFW posts and auxiliaries — the Littleton Elks Lodge Ladies Auxiliary gets wish lists from Fort Carson. Then, with the financial backing of the VFW, goes out and shops for toys and prepare baskets of food and then heads to the army base with a truckload of holiday cheer.
"The service brings in a Santa Clause from down there at Fort Carson, and he hands out all the items to them. We make sure they all have stockings and just everything to make a nice Christmas for them," Lattin said.
"It's very touching to see these little kids come in and don't think they're going to get much for Christmas, and they probably wouldn't because the Gold Star families don't get paid that well," fellow volunteer and longtime friend Sharon Ervin said.
For families who have lost so much, the kind gesture allows them to pause and for a moment, get lost in the magic of the season.
"Even if you can only help one person, you've made a difference in one person's life," Lattin said.
Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.