VOORHEES, NJ (December 8, 2017) — South Jersey-based nonprofit organization “Spirit of the Holidays” lived up to its name on Thursday, Dec. 7th, when its volunteer members delivered 49 gift baskets for later distribution to Kennedy Health Alliance (KHA) Infectious Diseases patients affected by HIV/AIDS.
For the past 18 years, Spirit of the Holidays has collaborated with KHA Infectious Diseases (formerly Garden State Infectious
Diseases) and other area AIDS service organizations/medical practices to support community members affected by the disease. Founded in 1999 by the South Jersey O’Neill family in memory of family member Kevin Todd, who lost his battle with HIV/AIDS at age 40, Spirit of the Holidays is committed to providing families affected by HIV/AIDS “one carefree day” during the holiday season. Since 1999, the Todd family has donated gifts and food during the holiday season to more than 1,000 South Jersey families.
“The reason we do what we do is simple: to make sure our beneficiaries know they are loved and not forgotten,” said Lisa O’Neill, Kevin Todd’s sister and Director of Spirit of the Holidays. Spirit of the Holidays’ sponsors – which include area schools, churches, businesses, clubs and athletic teams – raise money or make donations to purchase brand new gift items for each family member. Designated families will also be provided with a food basket filled to the brim for a complete holiday dinner.
Beginning in 2018, Spirit of the Holidays will transition its efforts to provide scholarship funds to deserving high school seniors who are either affected by HIV/AIDS themselves, or have a family member who is.
“We took a step back and thought ‘What could we do to help those affected by HIV/AIDS progress as far as possible in life?’” O’Neill said. “Our group at Spirit of the Holidays felt providing scholarships to deserving recipients would continue to fulfill our mission in a great way.”
Shown at the drop-off event are, from left: Tom O’Neill (Lisa’s husband); Lisa O’Neill; Karen Dessables, KHA Infectious Diseases Physician Practice Manager; and Sean Anderson, KHA Infectious Diseases Physician Practice Supervisor.