Well, it’s been a year!!  We couldn’t have “saved” Christmas for our Red Bag kiddos without each and every one of you!!  Last year was our best ever, placing 1635 kids!!  This year, because of all of the circumstances caused by COVID, we had to move up our date, change our delivery location and adjust to a new normal—just like all of you!  We started out asking our agencies for a total of 1150 kiddos because we just didn’t know what to expect.  With the earlier date, would sponsors have the Christmas spirit?  With schools, churches and businesses working remotely, would they be able to offer the same support as in the past?  Would economics prevent some of our faithful sponsors from being able to help this one year?  And lastly, would we be able to make up the difference with new sponsors?  Quite a lot of questions with no way to forecast the answers until now.


It didn’t matter at all that kids’ information was passed out in September and October and shopping options didn’t include Black Friday.  Many donors shopped online almost exclusively; others ventured out a bit but all were clearly in the spirit of the holidays as they filled the Red Bags.


The vast majority of our schools, churches and businesses found a way to make it work!  The coordinators of each group were unyielding in their commitment to recognizing the changes that had to be made, then implementing creative ways to accomplish them.  Their members responded in force. 


Most of our long-time sponsors stepped up and adopted kids again, with several of them adopting two rather than one, or three rather than two.  Just proves what everyone in this program believes—once our sponsors experience the magic of Red Bags, they are hooked on the feeling!


As for new sponsors, the outpouring astounded us all—far beyond our wildest expectations.  We got new sponsors, some groups but mainly individuals, from the touching coverage by Channel 9 and through word-of-mouth.  Word of Red Bags and the need for additional help this year spread like wildfire!  One person told a family member who told a neighbor who engaged their office and on and on.  As the weeks rolled on, we were able to go back to our agencies time and again to get the names of very real kiddos that we were afraid we weren’t going to be able to serve this year.  And the result?  A resounding victory over last year’s record.  YOU adopted 1652 babies, children, tweens, teens and young adults!  Because your heart made room for a kid you don’t know and will never meet, each of them will find abundant joy this Holiday Season. 


OK, call us crazy if you will. But we are so excited for next year!  Because if our community can come together in the chaos of this time, in the midst of a pandemic, and shatter the record, oh my!  What will Christmas 2021 bring?  Because we know that once exposed to this phenomenon called “Red Bags”, our sponsors are smitten and can’t resist coming back for more.


From all of the Red Bag Team and the hundreds of kids served, a big ‘THANK YOU” and may you receive the same holiday joy that you spread.


See you next year!!


Providing an amazing Christmas for entire families began very simply over 35 years ago. Daniel Jacobs saw a family with a dirt floor and no Christmas tree or presents. That Christmas, co workers and neighbors came together and provided a magical Christmas that family will never forget. Since that Christmas, we have provided well over 2,000 families in dire need, that are working hard to make it, that same magical Christmas. The year 2020, with Covid and the loss of jobs, the need has been greater than ever. Again this year, neighbors and companies have stepped forward to sponsor 35 entire families. The families in need wishes were blessed with amazing gifts and gift cards for food this Christmas. We have such a warm feeling of thankfulness for all of our volunteers and sponsors here throughout the metro KC area. We see each and every Christmas why they call this place we call Kansas City, the heart of America.




  • To The Retirement Planning Group, Leawood,  led by Kevin Conard and Chris Costello, who made it possible for 130 of our kiddos to have bikes under their Christmas trees. The company underwrote the cost of 130 bikes and assembled them for distribution.

  • To Fry Wagner Moving Company for donating the moving vans we use to store our Red Bags on delivery day each year.

  • To A&M Printing for all their help over the years with our printing needs.

  • To Frontier Bags for providing our bright red bags every year.

  • To KMBZ Radio 98.8 and KMBC TV Channel 9 for letting the people of Kansas City know about our organization. 

  • To the Ball Conference Center for hosting our delivery day and to the cities of Sugar  Creek, MO and Lake Waukomis, MO for all of their help distributing the delivered red bags to the various Kansas City Metro area social service agencies.

  • To our Kansas City Metro area social service agencies that re-grouped with us and started gathering their kiddos Christmas lists in August and provided us with everything we needed (and more) to move our delivery up six weeks! 


The need was born in a tiny, dirt-floor dwelling in rural Edgerton, Kansas.  And the vision took hold in the heart of a humble, kind-hearted man.  In the winter of 1984, Daniel Jacobs drove to western Johnson County to tell a family that KCPL had to cut off their electricity for lack of payment.  He had done it before, and he would need to do it again but this particular family’s plight haunted him.  With Christmas approaching, he knew he had to find some way to help!  Stirred by Daniel’s passion, within eight days his family, friends and co-workers had donated so many gifts and so much food that his garage was overflowing.  That first year, three families were blessed with the magic of Christmas.      


After experiencing this measure of generosity from others, Daniel knew he was on to something!  Over the years, his outreach grew.  More and more families were helped—and the garages in his cul de sac were filled to the brim with items for others.


A couple of years later, a fortuitous encounter with a social worker inspired Daniel to extend his outreach and the Red Bags portion of Christmas Families was launched.  Foster kids on both sides of the state line became recipients of large red bags stuffed with things they needed such as warm clothing and school supplies and items they longed for like remote-control cars, Barbies and Legos.


Thirty-six years later, this grassroots organization continues to bring the spirit of the holidays to more than 50 families and 1500 foster kids every December.  Individuals, faith communities, businesses and organizations look over a child’s wish list, choose the items, shop for just the right things and add the wrapped gifts to the Red Bag for special delivery on Christmas morning.


In the words of one sponsor, “Red Bag Delivery day is the day each year when the Christmas Season truly begins for me!  I can’t EVEN IMAGINE a Christmas without this program!”


Christmas Families was incorporated as a 501© 3 organization in 1992.  Today it proudly continues as an all-volunteer entity.  With the exception of a handful of hard expenses such as printing and other support materials, 100% of donations are used to buy gifts and food for families and foster children.  Visit redbagskc.com for more information.


Sadly, Daniel Jacobs passed away in 2017—but what a legacy he left!  Christmas Families is his gift to us.  We honor his generous spirit each time we adopt a family or foster child and are blessed to help carry on the rich tradition he began.