When my wife and I had the idea to create Operation Sweet Tooth to honor our daughter’s memory, we had no idea of how our initiative would be welcomed. We are just a simple, mourning family, wanting to honor our daughter’s memory and do some good for other children, and their families while trying to find some healing during the process. As Pastor Rusty of Camino Church said, “We are turning our pain into a life of purpose.” When we enlisted the help of our brothers from F3 (f3nation.com) and sisters of FiA (FiAnation.com), the response and support was overwhelming. Friends, strangers, co-workers and family were eager to help support, honor our daughter and have a positive impact on children within our local communities. Receiving all the texts, tweets, emails and pictures of all the trunks filled with toys and gifts was just absolutely incredible to see. Moreover, receiving the numerous thank you letters, hugs and condolences for our loss was equally impactful. We cannot express our gratitude enough for everyone’s generosity and support and we are truly humbled and blessed that you played a significant role in making a difference.
During this time, we were invited to Christmas parties, asked to give speeches, guest workouts, helped deliver the donations to many of the institutions we supported and were honored for our strength and vision at a nearby Church. This experience only fortified the belief that through our grief, we could muster up enough strength to help others in need.
Together, with all your help, Operation Sweet Tooth was able to collect over 2500 presents, personal items, clothes and gift cards. In addition, we raised over $3000 dollars in cash donations to be used for future initiatives and projects in the upcoming year and beyond. $205 was graciously donated in the memory of David Lacivita. The foundation has been set and we welcome the opportunity to continue to provide hope and lift the spirits of those children who need it most.
The institutions we were able to help are listed below. There may have been some we left out and if so, we do apologize.
Levine’s Children Hospital
The Children’s Attention Home
Boys and Girls Club
Betty H Cameron Women and Children’s Hospital
Toys for Tots
Ada Jenkins Center
Church of God Orphanage
Thompson Children Home
Sojouner Truth House
Alexander Youth Network
Nassau County Hospital
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Although 2016 was the worst year imaginable for us personally, losing our precious daughter, we do recognize that Operation Sweet Tooth has provided us with a small amount of comfort and peace. We are excited to continue with our efforts in 2017. Please continue to follow our website www.operationsweettooth.org, and social media to learn more about upcoming initiatives beginning in the Spring and how you can help make a difference.
*This write up is also available on the website under “Blog”. Please visit and check it out as we have some of the pictures everyone shared with us during their respective toy drives.