|Homeless youths, ages 3-18 from Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Garden Grove and Santa Ana|
enjoyed a Christmas party organized just for them at South Coast Plaza.
Festival of Children Foundation and The Happiness Project hosted the Sharing the Spirit Holiday Party for more than 500 underprivileged children at South Coast Plaza on December 5th. The party took place at 9pm after the shopping center closed to regular business. Homeless youths ages 3-18 from Orange County shelters and motels were brought to South Coast Plaza on buses. Upon arrival the children were matched with a volunteer who guided them through holiday activities, including photos with Santa Claus, reindeer carousel rides, arts and crafts, beauty stations and face painting.
The kids frosted and decorated cookies, girls had their nails painted, boys built small Lego models provided by the Lego store, and the Puzzle Zoo store offered crafts. Sanrio's Hello Kitty mascot was working the crowd along with Chick-fil-A's cow mascot. The children enjoyed food provided by Chick-fil-A and Wahoo's Fish Taco, and at the end of the evening, each child received an age and gender appropriate gift bag full of toys and school supplies.
Bright and early on Christmas Eve, the Costa Mesa-based Festival of Children Foundation staff will head up to the Los Angeles Mission to set up a huge tent for the kids of Skid Row families. After the families enjoy the annual Christmas meal presented by the Mission, and prepared by celebrity chef Ben Ford (actor Harrison Ford's son), the children are invited to enter the Festival of Children Sharing the Spirit Holiday Party tent where they will experience a winter wonderland, visit with Santa, and leave with a toy donated by JAKKS Pacific.
"It gives us the opportunity to share ourselves directly with the children who attend. We try and create a little magic for them, but we are as much touched by the magic as they are," said Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, founder and executive director of Festival of Children Foundation.