Gulfport Junior Auxiliary event brightens Christmas for kids - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport Junior Auxiliary event brightens Christmas for kids

Face Painting was one of the most popular activities for the children. (Image Source: WLOX News) Face Painting was one of the most popular activities for the children. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Each child was given a copy of Polar Express signed by Santa Claus. (Image Source: WLOX News) Each child was given a copy of Polar Express signed by Santa Claus. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Santa Claus waited outside for the children to get off the polar express. (Image Source: WLOX News) Santa Claus waited outside for the children to get off the polar express. (Image Source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Gulfport Junior Auxiliary members transformed the theater at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center into a winter wonderland inspired by the movie Polar Express for their annual Christmas miracle event for families in need.

"I thought I was too big and I was going to be too old to do it,said student Samantha Edwards. "I was just sitting there all scared and she was like, 'Sweetie, if you want to do something go ahead, do it.' And that, I was like, that's awesome." 

Edwards and her siblings were chosen for the program along with more than 60 other children who were selected to participate by school counselors. They were treated to a variety of holiday inspired activities like face painting and snow globe making.

"We want it to be a time with their family that they will never forget and just be able to relax and take all the stresses of life and just put it off to the side and just be a family today,” said event chairman Julie Krohn.

This is the fifth year for junior auxiliary to host a Christmas event helping families in need, but this year was extra special because more sponsorship allowed them to treat dozens more families than they ever have before.

"At one point during the planning process of this project, we actually had more sponsors than we had children that needed to be adopted. So, we were able to go reach out to the schools and look for more families because we had so much support from the community," said Megan Chiniche.

The magic didn't stop inside. Keeping with the theme, the children were all presented with tickets to ride the Polar Express, which carried them to Santa's workshop where they received a silver bell just like in the movie.

"This is great opportunity for kids that don't get a lot of stuff for Christmas to come here and have fun and then get presents for Christmas and feel like they're being loved. And I felt very loved today," said Edwards.

After their visit with Santa, the kids were presented with a copy of the book, Polar Express, signed by the big man himself.

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