Each December, it is our mission to give our residents a day of Christmas joy, to create a day that is magical. But an event like this is only possible with team work. And thanks to the many people in our community who helped, this year’s Magic at the Mission event did not disappoint!
Linda Rose and Mark Parkinson are the volunteer Event Chairs that inspired Magic at the Mission eight years ago. It is because of  their leadership, creativity and hard work that we have this special event each year. I appreciate you Linda Rose and Mark!
There are many others I want to thank, who also have an integral part in making Magic at the Mission.
John Patterson organizes the OC Auto Center Toy Drive, and the “caravan of toys” from OC Auto Center to Village of Hope. It is a sight to see the long line of cars and motorcycles, piled with toys for homeless children. Joining the caravan this year, with their toy donations packed in their vehicles and strapped to their motorcycles were: the Army Reserve Division 2/413/95th, Sic Psycles Motorcycle Club, The 12, Mission Viejo Elks Lodge Motorcycle Club and The Exchange Club of Tustin.
Heading up the caravan are none other than Santa and Mrs. Claus, played by Chuck and Donna Puckett, on their “sleigh”, led by the Tustin Police Department and sleigh driver George Vallevieni.
I would like to say thank you to the volunteers who showed up bright and early to serve our residents. Among these volunteers were a group from Mission Bible Church, who used their incredible talents to bless us with live music. The University of Dayton Alumni group helped with activities and wrapping, along with the teen girls from Laurel House.
In addition to the fun of gift “shopping”, snow hill runs and music were a photo booth provided by Heart of God OC and The Feeding Frenzy Food Truck, offering funnel cakes to add to the fun. And Subway provided lunch for everyone.
The volunteers that participated on Saturday were reminded that there is a joy unlike any other that crosses a child’s face as they play in snow, for perhaps the first time, on a sunny day in Southern California. And that there is such excitement as kids pick gifts especially for their parents, and learn the blessing of giving rather than receiving. And volunteers are reminded of how powerful and transforming it is for parents to be able to choose gifts for their children at Christmas time, parents that are just a few steps away in their journey back to being the providers for their families.
We could not have a toy and gift shop without all of the donations. To all of you who donated one or more toys or gifts, THANK YOU! You have given families in need a special Christmas to remember.

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To receive your 2016 charitable donation tax deduction, your donation must be made by 11:59 PM on December 31. 11 Days to Give in 2016!