Vandalism and racist graffiti found at local charity for kids

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Grinch strikes at local charity organization
azfamily.com

PHOENIX - Vandals hit a local charity, just as they were getting ready for their most important time of year.

The organizer of the non-profit group will likely be staying overnight. In fact,

he might be there every night for the next four weeks until the event is over to make sure the vandals do not come back.

It is almost Christmas time and the Dehaan's are hard at work getting ready for their 22nd annual Christmas charity event for impoverished children.

Patrick Dehaan explains, "This is 250 children, every day approximately 400 to 500 come through."

Each square represents a different child and by the end of the 3-week event Santa, as Dehaan is known, will have seen more than 7,000 children from 16 Valley elementary schools.

The Positive Network Alliance puts on the educational celebration and sends every student home with a toy but Scrooge is trying to ruin it. Dehaan says, "Came in, I had staff waiting here, they were going to volunteer to help and we had a whole bunch of work to do today, went to put the key in the door and the key wouldn't go in, came to the other door, same thing."

Someone had purposely destroyed the lock. A locksmith spent hours just trying to get the doors open. The vandals also used graffiti on the building to write racist remarks including the "n" word.

"It's kind of a Grinch story, there's a Grinch out there and like in the Grinch, the Whoville bothered them because they laughed and made a lot of noise, I think that's what's going on here," Dehaan says.

But the Dehaan's are not going to let it spoil their fun. They just have some catching up to do and as far as being angry, Dehaan says, "It's more overwhelming sadness that there are these people out there that are that unhappy with life."

The locksmith is not one of those people because he changed their locks for free.

Because of the economy the organizer says they are down on toys this year. If you would like to donate toys or volunteer your time, contact the Positive Network Alliance by calling (623) 326-7951.