Monday, May 9, 2011

Giving Gifts of Love and Happiness

When buses arrived at South Coast Plaza retail center after business hours on December 10th, 350 homeless and motel children from around Orange County, CA stepped out to join a gathering of happiness, charity and holiday cheer.

A collaborative effort hosted by Festival of Children Foundation, South Coast Plaza, YPO Southern California Chapter and The Happiness Project, “Gifts of Love” gave children a chance to be a VIP this holiday season. As each child departed the bus they were matched with a volunteer helped them navigate the various activities. From visits with Santa to unlimited rides on the reindeer carousel, to arts and crafts and delicious food provided by Wahoo’s Fish Taco and Z Pizza, the children were given the Christmas they truly deserved. A teen lounge equipped with video games and music was available for the older children, and every child in attendance received a special gift bag tailored to their age group and gender.

“The opportunity to host this event and visit the shelters and motels has opened our children’s eyes to the very real issue of homelessness here in Orange County. Hopefully this holiday experience of giving to others will motivate children and adults alike to continue to make a difference in our community throughout the year,” said Brian Murphy, President of Athletes First and a member of YPO Southern California Chapter. We graciously thank the 200 volunteers who gave of their time, and the dozens of individuals and businesses that came together with donations and financial support to provide a magical evening for children in our own community.

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