Sunshine Foundation: Granting Wishes, One Child at a Time
For most kids, childhood is a time to be free — free of worries, free of sickness, free of pain.
But for others, childhood is a little different. Those who suffer from chronic illnesses, physical challenges, or abuse don't always get to experience all the joys of childhood.
That's where Sunshine Foundation comes in.
Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Feasterville, PA, Sunshine Foundation's sole purpose is to fulfill the wishes and dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged, and abused children ages three to eighteen, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to financial strain that the child's illness may cause.
On May 6, 2014, Sunshine Foundation's All-Volunteer Mercer County Chapter's Dreamlift took approximately 100 children on an amazing journey: a one-day plane ride to visit Walt Disney World. These aptly named Dreamlifts occur once a year, and often provide two firsts for the kids involved: their first time flying, and their first time visiting the theme park.
Since they started the Dreamlift program, over 99 chartered planes have taken more than 5,000 children to Florida from cities across the country. NJM is honored to have sponsored ten seats for the last Dreamlift.
"It's a magical day. Every time we go, it amazes me to see the outpouring of generosity from the Mercer County community. It overwhelms me how they give whatever they have to offer to make sure these kids have a great time." – Cathy DiCostanzo, Sunshine Foundation president
Some children with more severe disabilities aren't capable of enduring the trip, and Sunshine Foundation helps them too: An all-expenses-paid five-day trip to Florida's Dream Village, with twenty acres for the whole family to enjoy.
"The kids are thrilled," said DiCostanzo. "We go to their schools to tell them and the smiles and the cries and the shouting makes it all worth it. Everyone is happy."
"We couldn't do it without the donations that help us generate the money we need for these children," said DiCostanzo. "The size of the donation doesn't matter — it's from the heart and every dollar goes directly to the wishes and dreams of these children. That's something we're very proud of. We really want to thank NJM and all our other sponsors for their generosity for getting involved."