This is a guest post from Julia Masucci, Director, Donor Care & Administration Make-A-Wish® Metro New York and Western New York.
For the second year in a row, our wonderful partners at Southwest Airlines created huge smiles and warm hearts for Make-A-Wish® kids and their families on Thanksgiving Day. Southwest provided a first-class opportunity to view the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from the Southwest Porch located in the southwest corner of Bryant Park.
The Southwest Porch is the ideal spot for wish families to gather, with a fire pit, heaters, and a flat-screen TV to view the parade festivities. Breakfast treats and delicious warm beverages were enjoyed by all, including plenty of hot chocolate for the kids—and many a parent! We couldn’t help but feel spoiled as crowds continued to pour into the area looking for a good viewing spot, while we were tucked away on our warm and cozy porch with friends. No one could believe it when each family was presented with toasty warm, red Southwest scarves and a 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade keepsake ornament.
Kids and adults alike shared their thoughts on which balloons they wanted to see most—Snoopy was high on the list, as were Annie, SpongeBob SquarePants, and of course, Santa Claus. With the 6th Avenue parade route right in front of the porch, we could hear the excitement of the parade approaching. None of our wish families had ever viewed the parade in person before, due to concerns about being outside for so long in the cold weather and in all of the crowds. But this wasn’t your average parade-viewing opportunity! The National Law Enforcement & Firefighter’s Children’s Foundation kindly provided wristbands to wish families who wanted to go to the front of 6th Avenue for an even closer view of the parade. Kids eagerly scooted to the front or jumped on parents’ shoulders to view the amazing floats, balloons and bands.
Thank you, Southwest Airlines! You do so much throughout the year to provide special flight experiences for kids and families traveling for their wishes. This additional, amazing Thanksgiving parade opportunity has created even more special memories for children and families who have gone through so much with the diagnosis of life-threatening medical conditions. We are all truly thankful to have your partnership and wish all of you and your families the happiest of holidays.