While many are stringing up holiday lights, shopping for their loved ones, or getting involved in the festivities of the winter season, American Red Cross volunteers from all around Orange County are preparing for their biggest event of the year: the annual Children’s Safety Festival being held this Saturday, December 12.
The Children’s Safety Festival (CSF) is organized by the Red Cross’ Orange County chapter and takes place at the offices of the Red Cross in Santa Ana. Families can get disaster preparedness kits while engaging in activities aimed at teaching lessons about safety. Additionally, children from families in need receive gifts collected by regional high schoolers.
High school Red Cross clubs and chapter volunteers began preparations in October to ensure the success of the festival. On the day of the event, high school students construct various booths, games, and shows in celebration of the holiday season and in support of the act of giving to the community’s children.
This year, the theme for CSF is “Cirque du Sleigh,” a holiday and circus schema. Because Orange County is a diverse community with people who celebrate a multitude of different religious and non-religious holidays during this season, the Red Cross volunteers are careful to avoid any decorations or booths – such as a red and green color scheme – that clearly indicate the specific celebration of Christmas at the exclusion of other holidays.
In an interview with JSR, Allison Lu, the head of the chapter’s Events Leadership Committee, stated, “It’s been pretty stressful for me and my committee members to organize all the toys, decorations, and logistics before the deadline.”
“But,” she added, “I’m definitely looking forward to CSF because all the hard work pays off when you see the grateful faces of the little kids.”
Further preparations for the festival include the annual Toy Drive. During this drive, members of the American Red Cross, including all high school clubs in Orange County, gather age appropriate toys to distribute to the children at CSF. The Toys Subcommittee within the chapter’s high school leadership team separates the toys by age group to ensure efficient distribution and organization.
Angela Chuang, an annual CSF volunteer from Yorba Linda High School, told JSR, “My favorite time of the year and my favorite festival of the year is coming so soon! My school’s Red Cross club has been working really hard alongside all the other high schools to make this festival the best one it’s seen yet.”
Chuang continued, “It’s nice to see the unity and cooperation that happens among us high school students for the happiness of the community.”
As the date approaches, the hustle and bustle of CSF create an atmosphere of not only teamwork, charity, and generosity.