Someone stole Christmas from one Columbus family on Monday. But today, The Salvation Army and area donors are giving it back.
Carol Gross told Columbus Police that someone broke into the upstairs apartment she shares with her daughter, Kianna Gross, and her boyfriend, Phillip Foreman, at 16th and Union streets.
Thieves made off with nearly all of the family’s Christmas presents, and even took the stockings and attempted to steal their Christmas tree, Gross said.
However, The Salvation Army in Columbus already has made arrangements to replace many of the stolen gifts, which included Barbie dolls, a child’s cartoon Bible, a game and other items. A tablet computer also was reported taken.
“We’re going to make Christmas happen for this family,” Salvation Army Capt. Alan Sladek said.
The religious-based relief agency will be providing a full holiday package including meal, $150 gift card, clothes and toys for 12-year-old Kianna Gross, and gifts for Carol Gross and Foreman.
“We want to make sure everyone gets a Christmas,” Sladek said.
Gross said she was overwhelmed by the supportive response her family has received after Columbus residents read about their plight on the front page of Thursday’s Republic.
Two people left anonymous gifts on Gross’ doorstep. A local Santa also volunteered to drop by on Christmas Day as a special treat for the family.
Others contacted The Republic, wanting to provide support to the family anonymously.
“It’s not something I’m used to,” Gross said. “But I’m just in awe over how much the community has come together to help us.”
Besides the theft, the Gross family also experienced several recent health problems. Her father suffered a heart attack about two weeks ago. A few days later, Kianna was diagnosed with congenital heart failure.
The Salvation Army is making its regular Angel Tree deliveries today. It provides presents to children in low-income families, some of whom may not be able to afford a lot of presents for Christmas.
Gifts or monetary donations intended for Carol Gross and her family can be dropped off at The Salvation Army office, 2525 Illinois St. Anonymous donors should include a note specifying the Gross family as recipients.
Sladek said he will make a special personal stop to make sure that the Gross family gets a little extra attention.
“I’m just in awe over how much the community has come together to help us.”
— Carol Gross, theft victim