Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfills children’s holiday dreams aboard a wedding yacht in Newport Harbor.
`The coolest thing is watching the kids’, longtime volunteer says. Eternity yacht was bustling with kids. Invigorated by the holiday spirit, they chased after Santa Claus and scurried up and down stairs. White lights adorned most of the vessel; almost 200 children ate pasta, veggies and fried chicken with their families; and halfway through the evening, Santa Claus hopped aboard and handed out gifts.
It was all for one reason: to give the kids and all beneficiaries of the Make-A-Wish Foundation a good time and a little bit of hope. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department and local businesses sponsor the event each year, and numerous deputies attended. They unwrapped presents and delighted in cup after cup of hot chocolate and Shirley Temples. For a few hours, they focused on nothing but being kids and that’s something that these children, many of whom have been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition, don’t get to do all that often.
Thanks to the generosity of Electra Cruises’ owners Randy and Linda Guinther , who donated the boat excursion, food and beverages.
Many children with life-threatening illnesses cruised the harbor during the holiday in style and security, as Orange County Sheriff’s Department reserve deputies and Electra Cruises hosted the children for a day on the water. Orange County Sheriff’s Department volunteers from the harbor patrol, reserves and explorers boarded an Electra Cruises yacht with children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation where they played games, danced, had their faces painted and made patriotic crafts while cruising the Newport Beach harbor.
“It is a day for them to forget about their illnesses and just have fun,” Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said.
With smiles on their faces, the children were transformed into tigers, fairies and American flags with face paint before chowing down on pancakes provided by the American Legion Post 291, where the boat briefly docked.
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens spoke to the crowd of children and their families. “It is our distinct pleasure to be able to participate in this event each year with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and bring a few hours of joy and respite to the children and their families,” Hutchens said in a statement.
The department has hosted the cruise for more than a decade and anticipates working with the local partners to continue to bring joy to ill children in the future, Hallock said. “The looks on the children’s faces during the event are priceless and make all the hard work worth every second,” he said.