Aquarium of the Pacific, Christmas Holiday Celebration for Families

Gordon Philanthropies (GP) hosted a Christmas event for families that have faced unique challenges and are in need of community spirit and goodwill.


“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”
― Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express

The celebration invited families chosen by GP’s community partners, who have experienced an unforeseen and tragic situation this year. Many of the families in attendance lost a loved one to incarceration or COVID-19. Some are currently dealing with a terminal illness. It is a small, but heartfelt gesture that the foundation used as a way to contribute to families in need, especially those in need of a little Christmas magic.

The celebration occurred outdoors at the Aquarium of the Pacific Long Beach. The event welcomed 100 families, who enjoyed Santa Claus and a Polar Bear reading the classic book, The Polar Express. Afterwards, each child received their own copy as well as their very own Believe Christmas Bell. The families were given supermarket gift cards and each child received a gift. All the families are part of the GP’s Communities That Read Together, Grow Together reading program. For over 80% of the attendees, this was their first time visiting the aquarium. The delight in the children’s faces as they witnessed the most beautiful and colorful fish swim in tanks was the greatest joy for the GP staff, community partners, and parents. As one parent stated, “Just an opportunity to forget my worries for a bit and provide some Christmas joy to my children who have been through so much, including homelessness, hunger, and the loss of their dad. I see their smiles and remember the playfulness of being a child.”

“Our mission is to support the educational efforts of families involved in our reading program. However, you can’t exclude the hunger and tragic events our families face. This event was a small but meaningful way that we could share the Christmas spirit while reminding our families that they do not stand alone,” explained Daniel Gordon, Chairman and Founder of Gordon Philanthropies.

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