Teddy Bear Touchdown Day!
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope you are having a great weekend so far.
Today is our local Teddy Bear Touchdown for children with HIV and AIDS in Jacksonville, Florida. This event started back in 1989 after the death of my god daughter, Candace, at age 5 from AIDS. My partner and I were very young and HIV positive ourselves so we shopped all year long for her gifts. After she passed I decided to take the Christmas gifts we had purchased for her and distribute them to the other children at the HIV clinic where she was treated since most of them were wards of the state. (People wouldn't foster or adopt kids with HIV back then.) I promised her as she was dying that I would help bring hope and joy to as many children with HIV and AIDS in her memory.
It was a very wet and cold day outside today. The phone starting ringing off the hook shortly after I got up. Luckily, Heather was handling getting all the merchandise to the church so all we had to do was set everything up for the kids.
The volunteers started showing up around 12:30ish. I was so thankful so many showed up even considering the weather. Then the kids started showing up about five minutes til 1pm. When the last had arrived we had a full room of
probably 80 - 90.
Ayesha Faines, who is one of our lovely local reporters at Channel 4 in Jacksonville, read the kids the Christmas carol "The Night Before Christmas". It was great seeing Ayesha again and I greatly appreciate her coming and help bring hope and joy to children with HIV and AIDS.
After the raffle drawings for the large items, the children were called up by age groups to receive their gifts. And all too soon it was over.
I would like to thank several friends who came to help and volunteer: Gary Higo, Michael Tingue, Walter Fitzwater, William Herndon, Marion Merritt, Forest Starke and all the others for their hard work.
Afterward, I went out to lunch with friends at Outbacks. I had not been there before but it is basically a sports bar with good food in the Riverside area. We were watching the Alabama/Florida game.
Now I have to get some rest and then get up to pack for leaving tomorrow for Fort Lauderdale. So I hope you have a great rest of your weekend.
Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.
big bear hug,