Christmas Eve for my family was always my favorite day of the year. I never missed flying to Pittsburgh to be with them – ever! Dad passed a few years ago and Mom more recently. No trip to see the grandchildren since they are all coming down in a couple weeks for my husbands SIGNIFICANT birthday.
So although Christmas remains the best time of the year for me, and I still sing (off key) to every Christmas song I hear – it came with a little sadness. Wishing the days of my parents and family in Pittsburgh could be – once again.
Well, here in Coral Springs, Florida, Aimee Tarte, owner of Lady & The Mug held her second annual ‘Santa For A Cause’ Event. I missed it last year as I was up north but was able to lend a hand this year.
Interesting enough, there were so many ‘helpers’ from our community, I was barely needed. From Alex Duran (Fitwise For Kids) who picked up the homeless in his bus to Mason Pruner and his amazing band (Rekless), to Spiro (The Bin Doctor) who donated the hot turkey, to all of the donated clothes and toiletries and even Leonardo and Marcy from Performance Title who donated a REAL FIRE TRUCK RIDE. (I have no idea how they pulled THAT OFF!).
The (homeless) guests were treated with a free and hot served meal; lots of cookies and desserts; any drinks that the mug served; a fun ride in a real Fire Truck; and access to more donated items than they could carry. We packed up the rest of the hundreds of donated items for Alex to deliver with our new found friends back to the shelter.
When Aimee started this last year, many people were concerned with safety. What kind of people will she be picking up? I met with Aimee and her staff as they were planning last years event, and Aimee did not let anyone, including her team, stand in her way. She had a successful mission last year, and it was bigger and better this year!
And, it was successful for so many reasons.
First, many witnessed that the biases of those ‘type of people’ were so wrong. Will they be dirty, smelly, harmful? Will they want to steal? How do we act around them?
Well, these guests were wonderful. They were friendly, so grateful, oh and no one smelled! I enjoyed spending time speaking with them, helping Aimee’s Coffee superheroes serve them, and enjoyed their experience of the event. An afternoon to remain in their fondest of memories I am sure!
My second favorite moment that touched my heart was when a man pulled his wallet out, and quietly handed his children money to give each of our new homeless friends. A SIGNIFICANTLY sized bill. The recipients did not even think it was real! There were a few reasons this touched my heart, first, that he was so generous. Second, that he had his children participate (what a great role model) and third, that it reminded me of my dad. Although my dad did not have much money, he would always pull his wallet out for someone in need. I had to hug this man! A few times! And, I thanked his wife as well who shared with me that he does that often. WOW! Who were these wonderful people? I had not met Dr.’s Jared and Caterina Cohen from The Spine & Wellness Centers before, but I am so happy that I was fortunate enough to see their warm generosity yesterday. I also caught a glance of the Doctor and his kids washing dishes. Funny you might think, but also something we found my dad doing at the end of Christmas Eve dinner – cleaning up the kitchen.
So then, what was my #1 favorite memory? One of the homeless men disappeared for a short time. When he returned, I asked if he was on the Fire Truck ride, and learned that he had his $100.00 bill broken down and distributed to the others. He said: ” They need it more than me.”
Thank you, Aimee, for your heart’s mission, generosity and leadership that it took to pull this beautiful event off. It is an honor to have you as a client, and a friend.
Thanks, Alex, for making the transportation happen (and your elf suit!).
Thanks, Mason and your fantastic band Rekless for treating us all to great music.
Thanks Tim from Ryan Associates for for MC and DJ support.
Thanks Spiro for the Turkey
Thanks Leo for the Fire Truck and the many residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and Coconut Creek that donated food; items and love!
Thank you, Doctors Cohen and family, for your help, generosity, and, a fantastic example for your children.
Thank you Jill & Abby and so many others for your hard work and organizational skills with all of the donated items.
Oh yes, and, thank you SANTA for stopping by. We know how busy you were getting ready for last night.
Aimee, you are amazing! You teach me so much with every event you hold. Yesterday, indeed, was a Christmas Eve to remember.
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