Gifts pour in to Aztec Motel 

Already living in a motel-turned-homeless-shelter with an uncertain future, dozens of kids have been expecting a Christmas morning with few or no presents under the tree in the Aztec Motel's office. ("No home for the holidays," News, Dec. 8).

But in the past week, the community has stepped up to the plate. Shelter manager Teresa McLaughlin said Tuesday that she's received hoodies, wrapping paper, stocking stuffers and checks. One person brought by a check for $500 on Saturday. Investment company Charles Schwab has given $7,000.

Chris Mandeville, of Pikes Peak Writers, tells the Indy that her organization will donate books for all the kids, along with wrapping paper. Ashleigh Hullermann, of family-owned Earl Scheib Auto Body, LLC, says her family is building on previous efforts by organizing a toy drive for the Aztec, and donating a 1998 Dodge Caravan so residents can get to grocery stores and doctors' offices.

Some donors have struggled to get through on the Aztec's phone line.

"Everybody that's been reading the paper wants to help, and what's happened is I've been too busy to answer the phone," McLaughlin says. "I'll be on the phone, and two other people are calling in."

The shelter still needs donations, particularly toilet paper, toiletries, meals in cans, and money. That last one is extremely important, since the shelter needs funding to stay open.

Besides trying McLaughlin at 306-7794, donors can call her husband, Karl, at 216-9825. Donors can also come to the Aztec, 1921 E. Platte Ave., to drop off gifts from 9 to 5 daily.


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