Young patients at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA went "shopping" Monday for gifts for their parents and guardians without leaving the hospital, thanks to head football coach Jim Mora and his wife, Shannon. This year, the couple is putting on price-free holiday shops in five children's hospitals in California, Georgia and Washington so that sick children who can't be home for the holidays can play Santa.
The Moras have been supporting children in need and at risk through their not-for-profit foundation for the last 10 years. So far, the Jim Mora Count on Me Family Foundation has distributed more than $1.5 million to more than 60 charitable children's organizations since 2005.
On Monday, youngsters who are spending the holidays in the Westwood hospital were assisted by Shannon Mora and volunteers in selecting gifts and choosing wrapping paper, bows and notecards while parents and family members enjoyed holiday snacks and cheer in their own "reception" area. For those young patients who couldn't leave their rooms, volunteers loaded up carts with presents and brought the "shopping" experience to their bedside.
"When you see the looks in the eyes of these kiddos and the giant smiles on their faces, you can't help but want to make sure every child who's in the hospital during the holidays has their own chance to 'turn the tables' and give back to their loved ones," Shannon Mora said.