Colorful paper brings holiday charity

COSTA MESA — Holiday shoppers dined on southwestern Caesar salad, wild mushroom enchiladas and blackened catfish tacos while Sara Tengelsen, 15, and her mother, Terrie Tengelsen, waited.

The two sat in Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill among wrapping paper printed with metallic silver snowflake, Santa Claus riding his sleigh and Frosty the Snowman; ribbons of different colors and textures; and scissors, tape and gift tags.

Although no one came during their shift Saturday afternoon, the Tengelsens were volunteering to wrap presents for South Coast Plaza shoppers for a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Southern California.

"I love gift wrapping," said Tengelsen, who found out about the fundraiser through the National Charity League, to which she and her daughter belong.

The Yorba Linda residents have been involved with the league since Sara was in seventh grade and have done a number of activities to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Sara said she knows someone who has the chronic and often fatal respiratory disease, and they both know a teacher whose four children are afflicted.

The teacher talked to the league chapter parents about the family's daily routines and even showed them what the breathing treatments were like for her children, Tengelsen said.

"It's really quite emotional when you see everything she has to do to keep her kids healthy," she said.

Volunteers are slated to be at Z'Tejas from noon to 7 p.m. Friday for the final fundraising day. The restaurant is on the east side of South Coast Plaza, 3333 S. Bristol St. in Costa Mesa.

"We are delighted to team with the good folks from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to offer this public service that benefits a most worthy cause," Z'Tejas General Manager Jeffrey Grasso said in a prepared statement. "We hope that our many guests and visitors of the mall will support this endeavor."

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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