Friends and Neighbors

Boy Scout helps troops in Afghanistan — including his cousin

Seventeen-year-old Thomas Fariss knows how to get things done. He is completing his Eagle Scout project, but he also wants to let those serving in Afghanistan know they are not forgotten. So he is working with America’s Moms for Soldiers and is helping to pack 100 care packages to send to the troops there. While doing so, Thomas will also be honoring his cousin Jared Blakey, who is serving in Afghanistan.

Tom Christensen, who informed us about Thomas, said, "There is still a bunch of young people over there. ... They need things like basic white socks and baby wipes — lots of baby wipes because they are not always able to take baths."

Christensen said some of the soldiers are in places so remote that the boxes have to be dropped by helicopters. He said recently the Girl Scouts gave a big donation of 15,000 boxes of cookies to be sent over to the soldiers.

The packing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Aug. 3, at St. Rose of Lima Church, 415 NE 105th St. in Miami Shores. If you want to help, in addition to basic white socks and baby wipes, the soldiers need beef jerky, granola bars, nuts and chips, shaving gel, body wash (everything should be in the three ounce size, Christensen said), sunflower seeds, gum, lotion and toothpaste and mouth wash.

Whatever you can do will be much appreciated by Thomas and our soldiers. To learn more about America’s Moms for Soldiers, Christensen said you can go to the group’s website:

Treats for teachers

School is just about to start. And those wonderful men and women who are responsible for our children’s education (and safety) will soon be returning to classroom.

According to Kamali Burke, as a way to thank educators, the Seven Seas Aveda Spa and Salonat the Newport Beachside Hotel and Resort is hosting a teacher appreciation promotion through Labor Day. The package will feature select luxury spa treatments and will be offered at the discounted rate of $20.13, to celebrate the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

Teachers may choose one of the following treatments: a 30-minute Aveda Elemental Nature massage; a 30-minute Aveda Elemental Nature facial; a full pedicure and manicure polish change, or a professional haircut and style.

Teachers who take advantage of the offer will get free valet parking; complimentary steam room access; gratis glass of champagne, and beach deck access. To make your appointment for this offer and for more information, call 305-749-2100 or go to

Distinguished service award

Congratulations to Sidney W. McCray, who on July 13, was inducted into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity’s Distinguished Service Chapter at the fraternity’s 2013 conclave in Philadelphia.

McCray, a member of the Rho Sigma Chapter of the fraternity, was initiated at Florida Memorial University’s Beta Pi Chapter in 1967. Since then, he has served as a past Southern Regional Director and twice as past international first vice president.

According to a press release, the Distinguished Service Chapter Award is the fraternity’s highest recognition bestowed upon a member who has made outstanding contributions and has given extraordinary service to the fraternity, the community, state and nation.

McCray and Mabeline, his wife of 39 years, are the parents of three sons, Orien, Cedric and Marcus.

Helping kids

Some of the community’s little known heroes are the members of the Progressive Firefighters Association Charities. Not only do the men work to save lives and homes, they are also busy trying to make a difference in the lives of our children,

For example, Keith Bell called to let me know the association will have their annual back-to-school book bag give-away from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 15, at the Joseph Caleb Community Center at Northwest 54th Street and 22nd Avenue.

"We provide 1,000 kids, from elementary school to senior high school, with 1,000 book bags filled wit school supplies," Bell said. "We will also provide free haircuts for the boys and free manicures for the girls."

Others supporting Bell and the association are: the Coalition of Black State Troopers, the Progressive Officers Club; Beauty School s of America; radio stations 99 JAMZ and Hot 105; and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

For more information on this and other events sponsored by the association, call 305-688-3473.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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