By Angel MedFlight Contributor
The children laughed happily on this warm October day in Phoenix. They had come to a carnival. They were there to play, lick snow cones, get a few treats and frolic with costumed superheroes. But these children and their families had also come to this carnival to take advantage of basic services like haircuts and dental checkups. For some, it may have been their first chance at a hot lunch in days. This was no ordinary carnival — it was the Hope Worldwide Phoenix chapter’s Carnival for Homeless Children and Angel MedFlight was happy to once again be involved, helping to make this a very special day for underprivileged kids.
Ryan Jones is the Chairman of the Board for Hope Worldwide’s Phoenix chapter. Jones says the organization has global reach and whether it’s in Phoenix or across the United States, they are there to help. “You name it we’re there, serving the poor, the homeless, the needy, medical needs, we cover it all.”
The carnival was held at the Children’s First Academy in Central Phoenix. A school where according to its website, “one hundred percent of the students and their families are at the poverty line and a vast majority of students are homeless.” Jones says, “We have a great partnership with the Children’s First Academy. They’ve done so much in the community and have a great new facility and we’re happy to be here.”
For five hours on a Saturday afternoon some 800 children came through the front gates. Many stopped by the Angel MedFlight booth where our employees handed out treats. Whether it was a small bag of Skittles or a plastic feathered pink tiara, the faces on these children lit up with gratitude as we placed items in their bags.
From the Angel MedFlight booth the children and their families continued around the school grounds to find a myriad of snacks and concessions, snow cones, bags of popcorn and cotton candy. Costumed super heroes were there in force. One little boy pointed with excitement at very large man dressed up as The Hulk. The hero’s Marvel mates Spider-Man, Captain America and Hawkeye were also there as were a DC Comics contingent including Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. From heroes it was on to health as carnival-goers could get dental checkups and blood pressure screenings — all for free.
This was the fifth year Angel MedFlight has volunteered at the carnival. While some of our employees were there to hand out treats, others lent a hand with haircuts, face painting and manicures. Roberto Antonio, who works in the Angel MedFlight claims department is a board member at Hope Worldwide Phoenix. He’s been involved with Hope Worldwide for 14 years, including six years at the Phoenix chapter. “For me, the carnival is a day that allows me to get that one-on-one touch that we are meant to have with others. It’s a day that at the first spot of sunlight, you know that it’s going to be long and tough but it’s going to be fulfilling. “
The small faces we encountered thanked us politely for the treats they received. And Hope Worldwide showed their gratitude to us. “We wouldn’t have a carnival without (Angel MedFlight), ” said Jones. “You guys are one of our largest contributors to make this happen, not for us but for the community. We’re just so grateful for you guys being here and making the difference that you guys make.”
Angel MedFlight is a provider of worldwide medical flights. We are committed to delivering the highest quality air ambulance service to our patients. But on this day, it was most gratifying to help deliver a few hundred smiles to children and families in need.