GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport gave kids a little something to smile about this Christmas with their annual looking for a Christmas Miracle project.
The group transformed the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center theater into a scene out of the Polar Express. With the movie playing in the background, students and their families were treated to a fun filled day of Christmas activities.
"It's very nice for them. If it wasn't for them we would probably be like, how are we going to get this done or whatever, but I'm very excited how they invited us here to do everything," said Jakiyah Dallas, who was a participant.
Looking for a Christmas Miracle is one of the projects Junior Auxiliary members take on each year, and it's a special one because they get to help parents who may not be able to provide gifts at Christmas.
"This year we reached out to five different schools and asked the social workers and the counselors at those schools to pick five families at each school that demonstrated the most need," said Megan Chiniche, chairman of the project.
The 66 students chosen for the 2016 event were treated to face painting, a hot chocolate station, ornament decorating and more. But, 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.
"Everything was wonderful from the ornaments, to the face painting, and the ride to the North Pole. Thank y'all, thank y'all, thank y'all. From the bottom of my heart," said Jessica Washington.
To round out the theme, each child got a copy of the book and a bell to wear around their neck, reminding them to believe in magic.
"One thing I would like to say to them is thank you for all they've done. I really thank you really much, and have a Merry Christmas," said Jamell Green.
Chairman Megan Chiniche says the children's presents were all sponsored by generous members of the community.