Happy Friday, my fellow air-breathers! It’s a lovely day here in NYC, a good day for traveling, which is what me and my brood are doing. Headed down to my old alma mater at the University of Delaware, for a memorial service for my mentor, Bill Fleischman, and hope to see some old friends and show my two boys where Daddy spent four glorious years.
Lots of great, heartwarming stuff on this final Friday before Halloween. I start today with a woman named Champale Anderson, a mother of six in North St. Louis, Missouri.
For the last five years, Champale has provided a lunch bag filled with sandwiches and snacks after school to any child who knocks on her door and asks.
“I’m just trying to help the kids that don’t have enough at home or just hungry after school. I been doing this out my own money and i’m just reaching out,” Anderson said on her GoFundMe page.
The donations help her purchase the items that go inside the bags. They range from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, cookies, juice, snacks and “a few surprises for her special babies.”
Just wonderful. Nothing earth-shattering or world-changing, except that yes, she IS changing the world a little bit, one hungry child at a time.
Since Champale’s story got publicized by her local TV station, her GoFundMe page has raised, as of this writing, more than $82,000. That’ll help feed A LOT of children.
I say it all the time: So much more good than bad in the world. So much more. Champale, you are an inspiration.
**Next up today, I have a new hero, and his name is Jackson Friedlander. He’s a little kid who played hockey during intermission of a recent Washington Capitals game, and was named the “Mite of the Night” by the broadcast team. In a truly fabulous interview, Jackson talks about his goals, his favorite Caps player, but most entertainingly, his pet tarantula at the :38 mark.
I love this kid so much.
**Finally today, I’ve long believed that Shaquille O’Neal is one of the “good guys” in sports, someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and actually uses his fame and fortune to try to help others.
Now comes this story that he’s donated a year’s rent in a new home to an Atlanta woman whose 12-year-old son was paralyzed in August when he was shot at a football game.
According to this story, O’Neal tells WXIA-TV that Isaiah Payton’s family (that’s Isaiah, above) had been living in a one-bedroom apartment that wasn’t accessible for people with disabilities. The rehab center Isaiah was in wouldn’t release him to go home because the apartment he and his family lived in wasn’t handicapped-accessible.
Now they have a home in a good neighborhood. Shaq, in coordination with the Atlanta police department, says he’s helping furnish the home and will pay its rent for the next year.
“I reached out to the family because I wanted to see the son and I said he’s not going to release the sign until she’s able to move on the first floor. So, we found her a house. I’m going to pay her rent for the year and I’m going to give her some furniture and it’s sad because her son is paralyzed from the chest down and no mother should have to go to that,” the ex-L.A. Lakers star told WXIA.
Isaiah was shot through the spine in August after a football scrimmage between two high schools. Sixteen-year-old Damean Spear also was wounded and treated for minor injuries. Isaiah’s mother, Allison Woods, has said relearning how to care for Isaiah meant she had to leave her job, adding financial stress to her emotional turmoil.
Good job, Shaq. A horrible tragedy, but one that someone with the means to help now has.