Playing youth sports requires having properly fitting shoes. The Orange Bowl organization recently distributed more than 2,300 pairs of new and used sneakers to disadvantaged children who want to participate in sports and exercise.
The shoes were collected through the “Kicks for Kids School Challenge” in Miami-Dade and Broward County Schools, and the top four collectors were each rewarded with a $2,500 grant from the Orange Bowl Committee.
The winning schools were North Dade Middle School, Eugenia B. Thomas K-8 Center, Sunset Lakes Elementary School and McArthur High School. North Dade Middle School students celebrated with a dance, and even Orange Bowl mascot “Obie” attended the “orange carpet” event. Students were admitted to the dance by donating a pair of athletic shoes to Kicks for Kids. For more visit www.community.orangebowl.org.
TOYS FOR SICK KIDS
Children in the hospital for the holidays were cheered by visits from veterans and volunteers with the Hearing Research Institute, who each year purchase gifts for hundreds of young patients at Miami Children’s Hospital and Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial. The giving tradition has continued for 25 years.
Some of the toys and stuffed animals donated were part of “Toys from Tots to Tots” at Temple Judea of Coral Gables. The sharing program was created by Dr. Robert Pickard, a South Miami ear, nose and throat specialist, and a retired Army colonel. Pickard is the medical director of the Hearing Research Institute.
“Healthy children from the school at Temple Judea donated a present meant for a sick child which became part of those gifts distributed by the veterans group,” he said. “This is a double blessing both for the healthy child who gives and the sick child who receives. Isn’t that what the Chanukah and Christmas season is all about?”
The various veterans groups that gave funds to buy the gifts included Lions Clubs, Anthony Abraham Enterprises, Viet Nam Veterans, Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), Jewish War Veterans USA, the American Legion, and Korean War Veterans. Any extra toys were given to the Child Life departments at the hospitals for children who will be hospitalized over the holidays. The Fallen Police Officers Association and the Children’s Home Society also received extra toys.
Some of the volunteers who participated in the toy sharing included Pickard, his wife Susan and their daughter Beke Pickard, Remy Gordon, Roberto and Miriam Molledo, David Magidson, Luis LaLama and his daughter Susana, Wesley Mejia, Steve Jockers, Dan Fischer, Harris Hershkowitz, George Becker, Ike Heller, and Dana Rogozinski
Getting a new set of wheels is a dream come true at the holidays and the bicycle police officers with the city of Miami now get to live it. The city received 13 special new bikes from the Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell-Downtown. The hotel underwrote the $8,500 purchase in support of the not-for-profit H.E.L.P. Fund (Help Equip Law-Enforcement Personnel).
Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and the hotel’s developer, Bernard Wolfson of Hospitality Operations Inc, recently presented the bicycles at a dedication ceremony.
“I started the H.E.L.P. Fund to give our police and fire-rescue personnel the tools necessary to make our streets safer and give the business community, specifically, a way to directly invest in the well-being of our citizens,” Sarnoff said in a release. He is also chairman of the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
“Introducing additional police protection on our Downtown Miami streets will enhance quality of life in our neighborhood, ensuring our guests from around the world enjoy a secure and positive experience,” Wolfson said. The donation nearly doubled the bike force that patrols the area.
Businesses and citizens can get involved by donating to the city of Miami’s H.E.L.P. Fund at www.miamifoundation.org.
Santa Claus and other celebrities recently joined with helpers from the South Florida Council of Fire Fighters at the 22nd annual Amigos for Kids Holiday Toy Caravan. The group delivered joy and gifts at locations throughout South Florida and the event drew hundreds of volunteers.
The Amigos For Kids tradition, which began in 1991, helps make the holidays brighter for thousands of needy children each year. The Amigos effort is designed “to fulfill each child’s specific wishes from his/her very own wish list.” The gifts are purchased to fulfill at least two of each child’s requests.
Individual sponsors also participated in the toy drive that brings contributions from family members, co-workers, members of church congregations and other groups. A large number of corporate sponsors assist in the success of this respected toy drive. For more on how to get involved go to www.amigosforkids.org.