Around Town: Huntington Beach drive-through holiday gift event for the needy

Santa Claus gets a shy wave from Brianna Johansen, 7,
Santa Claus gets a shy wave from Brianna Johansen, 7, during the St. Bonaventure Catholic School Santa Drive-Thru Experience on Dec. 5.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

The Priority Center of Santa Ana will distribute gifts to some of the neediest Orange County families with a drive-through holiday experience on Saturday in Huntington Beach.

The event will take place at the Freddie Georges Production Group HQ, located at 15362 Graham St. It runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More than 270 families are participating. The Priority Center will distribute nearly $130,000 worth of gifts for children and gift cards for food and other basic necessities during the drive-through event. Families will stay in their cars and wear masks, and gifts and gift cards will be placed in the trunks of their vehicles for contactless delivery.


The funds for the gifts and gift cards were raised by families who participated in the Priority Center’s annual “Families Helping Families” holiday program.

Toy drive to be held Sunday in Huntington Beach

The Porsche Club of America — Orange Coast Region’s annual toy drive will be held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Huntington Beach Sports Complex parking lot, located at 18100 Goldenwest St.

The toy drive benefits Toys for Tots, a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. It will be a drive-through toy drive to observe social distancing and COVID-19 protocol.

Participants may stay in their cars and the Marines on-site will retrieve their toys, or they may get out of their car and drop the toy in the USMC toy boxes.

The Huntington Beach Police Department K9 Unit will also be on-site accepting donations.

Loreen Gilbert wins KX FM’s Silver Tongue Award

Loreen Gilbert won the Silver Tongue Award, handed out annually to the guest host who raises the most money for KX FM 104.7, a Laguna Beach-based radio station, during its on-air pledge drive referred to as “KX Takeover.”

Gilbert, the president and CEO of WealthWise Financial Services, helped the station raise $8,000, which was part of a record-setting total of $85,854 for the annual fundraiser.

KX FM 104.7, a Laguna Beach-based radio station, is holding its annual ‘KX Takeover’ event, giving local community members time on the air as a fundraiser for the station.

Nov. 21, 2020

“I am thrilled to be honored with the Silver Tongue Award from KX FM,” Gilbert said in a statement. “Our team at WealthWise Financial embraces the importance of giving back to our community. At WealthWise, we help our clients create a legacy, and charitable giving is one key aspect of that aspiration. It takes a village to make an impact, and we are happy to do our part.”

From among a field of 53 guest participants in the KX Takeover, the team of Nia Evans and Brenden Hexberg raised $7,655 to come in second place. Laguna Beach City Councilman Peter Blake placed third with $7,525 raised.

“I had the best time raising funds and awareness for our beloved local radio station,” Blake said in the release. “I can’t imagine Laguna without KX!”

The shows from the KX Takeover are available at

Tyler Russell McCusker, the founder of the local radio station, now in its eighth year, offered his thanks, saying, “We are still recovering from gratitude and awe at the support we received this year.”

Local students win Orange County Health Care Agency mask contest

St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Huntington Beach recently awarded its first Pastor’s Award to second-grader Henry Bui.

Bui won a first-place award in the elementary school category of the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Mask Message Contest. He wrote an essay on wearing masks as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic.

India Howerton, an eighth-grader at Costa Mesa Middle School, also was a first-place winner in the Mask Message Contest. Her video showed her and her friends dancing to the song “Apache” by the Sugarhill Gang, while pointing out the importance of wearing masks.

More than 600 students entered the contest. Principals from each winning school will be contacted and will receive a technology grant.

City of Hope Orange County’s Annette Walker receives honor

Annette Walker, the president of City of Hope Orange County, was included among Modern Healthcare’s list of its 100 most influential people for 2020.

The list includes names like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, but the magazine gave its top position to frontline healthcare workers across the nation.

“These are the heroes of our time,” Walker said in a statement. “At City of Hope and across the country, providers worked together to make sure our communities were cared for. I have never in my career been more proud to be part of this industry.”

City of Hope opened a location in Newport Beach in January.

‘Sounds of the Season’ virtual show

The Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts will offer its “Sounds of the Season” holiday concert virtually next week.

The show will be offered on Dec. 18-19 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Tickets for the performance are $25 per household, and they can be purchased at

Performances for the show will include the orchestra, musical theater and music media and entertainment technology departments, as well as the Surf City Singers and the Huntington Beach High School Band and Color Guard.

Mesa Verde Fire-Sleigh to ride on Saturday

Santa Claus is coming to town — on a firetruck in the Mesa Verde neighborhood of Costa Mesa.

The Mesa Verde Fire-Sleigh will navigate the neighborhood from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Santa’s whereabouts will be trackable by texting “Follow Santa” to (714) 478-7819.

The event is being sponsored by the L3 Real Estate group.

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