INDIANAPOLIS – “Most of you have never heard of me, so let me introduce myself. I'm Teedle Kringle, one very special elf spreading the true meaning of Christmas. My dream is to bring back that spark to a young child’s eyes and the pure joy in a family’s heart who may need some extra help this time of year.”
This description on a social media site is about so much more than an elf named “Teedle.” This persona represents a charitable family -- Theresa Nichols, her husband David and their four children.
Combining the first letters of their names – this couple plus Emily (17), Elijah "Eli" (15), Eleanor "Ellie" (14) and Liam (8) – created a first name to go with the familiar last name of Kris Kringle, a.k.a., Father Christmas or Santa Claus. More importantly, the fictional name represents their charitable efforts year-round to help needy families.
Today, Nichols is married and a teller supervisor for the past 1 ½ years at the PNC Bank branch in Greenwood, Ind. Years ago, however, Nichols experienced first-hand the struggles of being a single mother.
One year for Christmas, all I could afford for my kids was a jacket. They didn’t care, but it was a horrible feeling as a mom that broke me to the core.
When she met her husband David, he was in a similar situation raising two children. They married in 2012 and became a family of six. Because both Nichols and her husband faced hardships before, they decided to “adopt” a family during the holidays of their first year as a combined family.
During one Christmas delivery to a needy family, David took notice of the empty freezer and bare food shelves. The Nichols realized simply helping at Christmas was not enough, and as a result, they started their own charitable giving social media effort under the name “Teedle Kringle.”
Now, Teedle Kringle gives community support throughout the year. They identify local families in need through their website, shop for the needy family and anonymously deliver gifts to their house. They receive names through their friends and family.
One year, a family suffered a house fire and was left with nothing. Through input from neighbors, the Nichols were able to shop and gather essential items to make an anonymous delivery.
Teedle Kringle started taking donations and asking businesses to help. Several companies have donated items, including a baby formula company who delivered several cases of formula all over Indianapolis. Other times there are sporadic donations from people dropping off items such as blankets and new shoes.
Besides relying on donations and keeping an eye on clearance and sales items throughout the year to stock up on supplies to donate, Theresa Nichols is a coupon guru. In the past she purchased over $300 in brand-name laundry soap for $4 and earned $27 back in coupons during the same trip.
During the 2014 holiday season, the Nichols adopted two families with a total of six children. Every child received four outfits plus pajamas, socks, winter coats and three toy items unique to each. Grocery stores in the area donated meat and packaged food for dinners, while the parents received a package with cleaning supplies and a gift card to a large retailer.
In 2015, five families in Beech Grove, Ind., had a merry Christmas thanks to Teedle Kringle. They received care packages, including toys, clothes, cleaning products and gift cards.
Teedle Kringle is for the parents because everyone wants to feel like they’re worth something. It’s our turn to give back to the community.
Our kids are more excited about what they can give other people than what’s going to be under their tree, which is amazing to me.
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