The Day Isabella Met Charity
Isabella had turned three years old and could not have had a care in the world. She lived on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California and had the love of two parents who loved each other. Her life was abundance in every sense of the word. Protected, sheltered and loved. Cleaning out our closets and preparing to donate our less used clothing… I was on the phone and making arrangements to have our family clothing picked up and donated to Charity. Upon hanging up the phone Isabella asked me if Charity was the name of a little girl who lives in Santa Ana, a neighboring, less fortunate town.
My Dad, Arthur had always taught me “to live by my actions, not only by my word. It is never enough to talk about it, unless you walk the talk and set the example.” I knew I could not wait and lose the opportunity to teach my daughter, Isabella a lesson for her life. We immediately loaded the clothes into our new SUV and drove to a family transitional shelter, in Santa Ana; The Orange County Interfaith Shelter. It was there where Isabella first was introduced to Charity, and played with many, many less fortunate children and gave them her clothing from her closet and her high chair and her baby car seat… That face to face, heart to heart interaction for Isabella set in motion a young lifetime of giving and on that day, in that moment, Dads for Giving was born…
Isabella and Daddy Mark buy and deliver two Thanksgiving dinners to families in Santa Ana California.
Isabella and Daddy Mark buy make and deliver 50 Thanksgiving lunches to homeless on the streets of Santa Ana California.
Isabella, her brothers Harry & Ricky and Daddy Mark buy, make and deliver 100 Thanksgiving lunches to homeless on the streets of Miami Beach and Miami Florida
Isabella, Harry, Ricky and Daddy Mark buy, make and deliver 150 Thanksgiving lunches to homeless on the streets of Miami Beach and Miami Florida.
Isabella, Harry, Ricky, Daddy Mark, Raquel, Daphne, Daddy Arthur, Oliver, Lucas and Daddy Art buy, make and deliver 300 Thanksgiving lunches to homeless on the streets of Miami Beach and Miami Florida.
With food sponsored by Sysco, Isabella, Harry, Ricky, Daddy Mark, Raquel, Daphne, Daddy Arthur, Oliver, Lucas, Daddy Art, Katie, Jack, Daddy Adam, Chance, Brock and Daddy Eric, make and deliver 500 Thanksgiving lunches to the homeless on the streets of Miami Beach and Miami Florida.
This year with the parking lot across from American Airlines Arena in Miami donated by Park West Parking and food donated by Cheney Brothers we feed over 500 hot meals on Thanksgiving morning. Founding dads Mark, Adam, Eric and Arthur were joined by 8 other dads lead by Daddy Michael and Daddy Jason. The kids lead by Isabella, Harry and Ricky were joined by more than 25 of their friends and donated their time and love and continued to build momentum to bring our mission to life.
Daddy Mark, Eric, Arthur, Adam and Alan and their 11 kids made 500 bag lunches through the generous donations received after receiving our 501(c)(3) status. The kids on the streets of Miami handed out the lunches one, by one, hand to hand and made many new friends and learned life lessons that they will cherish always. As a particular man that they met on the street told them “always keep this spirit with you, never lose it, never let them take it away and carry it with you until you are old like your Daddy!”
Daddy Mark, Eric, Arthur and Alan and their 11 kids prepared 100 hot meals through the continuing generous donations received this year. First stop was downtown Miami directly across from American Airlines arena. In no time a line was formed and 50 lunches were served. Again, many of the recipients had words of wisdom to share with the kids. The next stop was under the 395 freeway where the remaining 50 lunches were distributed. Year after year the kids continue to amaze with their fearless acts of caring walking down the street and hand distributing, one by one the lunches to even those who were unable to walk.
This year Daddy Mark, Eric and Arthur were joined by the Bast, Pathman, Sokol, Serbin and Whitehead families. A total of 8 Dads, 22 kids (and a Mom) prepared 500 hot meals of Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, Corn, Water and a Chocolate Bar (Harry’s idea!) We stuck to our usual route and as expected with what has transpired over the last year in the local economy we had no shortage of guests to feed. The kids were amazing as usual and even received a lecture on the power of service and “staying young at heart” from ‘Mr. Carwash”. Some of the first time kids whom were in their teens were a little nervous, but when they watched some of the 6 year old “veterans” go person to person hand delivering the lunches under the bridge with a warm “Happy Thanksgiving,” they jumped right in…
All the Daddies and Kids together again! 400 deliveries to the ones in need. (Harry wrote that!) Daddy George w/Lucy and Daddy Steve w/Max were BIG additions! Meeting Ralph was a highlight. See the picture of us sitting with him. We all hope he got on that bus and went to live with his Sister like he promised us…
Carnival Cruise Line was so kind as to donate the cafeteria for food preparation where the kids prepared 800 + meals that we served in the parking lot across the street from the American Airlines Arena
2013 was a beautiful repeat of 2012!
This was a beautiful year where I discovered www.lotushouse.org in the pursuit of finding a new home for the playhouse that Bella, Harry and Ricky had outgrown! It now resides in the front yard of Lotus House, an unbelievable haven for Mothers and their Children. In that process of meeting the wonderful team at Lotus House we came up with a plan to combine our efforts this year. Two weeks before Christmas, on a Sunday evening the Dads and their kids served a hot holiday meal to the 75 Moms and their 110 kids and our kids gave a gift wrapped Christmas present to each and every kid at Lotus House! It is not often that men, nor children have the opportunity to volunteer in the oasis of Lotus House and the kids of Lotus House loved having playmates for the night! We look forward to many more opportunities to partner with Lotus House! (Bella is even working on interning at Lotus House next year!) This Daddy is so PROUD!
Taking a suggestion from @plaxicoburress and the fact that socks are actually the number one needed and requested item in homeless shelters nationwide we took our calling. We distributed over 500 hundred pairs of socks, one by one individually on the streets of Miami…
The need continues and we repeated 2015’s sock efforts, with a Mother’s Day addition. On Mother’s Day we set up a photo booth and flower distribution at Lotus House. Every mom got to take a professional photo with their kids and instantly receive a framed print. The kids were given flowers to give to their moms! I spoke to a mom in the corner who was emotionally looking at the framed photo hugging her kids as she shared with me that it was the only photo she had every had of her family…
The sock distribution grew to over 1000 pairs distributed and this year was highlighted by a touching moment as I watched Harry down the street actually putting socks AND shoes on a homeless gentleman. It wasn’t until I saw Harry walking back to the car barefoot that I realized he took the shoes right off of his own feet… A perfect fit!
A beautiful repeat of 2017…
Covid-19 has been ravaging Miami’s homeless community and this year we added a pack of medical masks with every sock distribution. The masks were equally as appreciated as the socks were…
Dads for Giving takes requests. Last year we had so many requests for T-Shirts and we listened. Mark, Bella and Harry (Ricky had to be at IU getting ready to take on Purdue!) gave out 500 bags of t-shirts, socks and unfortunately and thanks to Covid-19 more masks under the overpasses of Miami.