Generous Wichitans give mom hope

Arletta Kinder was hoping to make this Christmas a special one for her children.

Those hopes were dashed Tuesday when a burglar broke into her southeast Wichita home and stole the family Christmas tree and all their presents.

Her hopes were restored Thursday after her situation was featured in stories in The Eagle and on KAKE-TV. Dozens of Wichitans stepped forward with offers of toys, gift cards and replacement trees.

"We just would like the kids to have a good Christmas," said one Wichita woman who contributed a Toys R Us gift card.

Kinder, a single mother living on a fixed income, said she was amazed at the response.

"This is totally overwhelming," she said. "I never thought people would be so willing to give. It's just like I don't know what to say."

Wichita police said someone broke into Kinder's home in the 800 block of South Terrace between 6 and 7:15 p.m. Tuesday while she and her children, Mikel, 6, and Kaylee, 5, were visiting friends.

Many of those who offered to help on Thursday offered the family gift cards.

"One came with a note that said to take myself out to dinner," Kinder said. "One person even gave us a reusable grocery bag with food in it."

Kinder said she has declined several offers of a Christmas tree. She said she and her children plan to open their presents from under her mother's tree this year.

She said she and the children plan to move in with her mother temporarily while looking for a new apartment.

She said her mother didn't mind having extra company at Christmas.

"My mom said that as long as she has her daughter and her grandkids, everything is going to be fine," she said. "She said everything else is replaceable."

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