A Message From the Director - Lisa Todd O'Neill
On October 7, 1997, Kevin Todd, beloved son, brother, uncle, cousin & friend lost his long, hard-fought battle with HIV/AIDS.
Kevin was one of five children born to Bob & Clare Todd. When Kevin was diagnosed, he decided to live closer to home and thus resided with our mother in Medford, NJ. We, as a strong, close-knit family, supported Kevin through the years in various ways - physically, emotionally & spiritually. Mom, of course, was the pillar of our family's strength and Kevin's main source of comfort. She lovingly brought him into this world, and she gracefully escorted him into the arms of God!
As his youngest sister and a "stay at home mom", I had the privelege of taking Kev to his doctors appointments when he was too ill to drive himself and when Mom was working. It was one day, while driving to an appointment, I noticed Kevin was in a particularly sad mood. I asked him "What are you thinking? What are you most afraid of?" He looked at me and with a tear in his eye he said "I'm afraid you'll forget me." I thought to myself, "I can't believe his first words weren't - I'm afraid to die." I told Kevin that we would never forget him, and that we would find a way to honor his memory.
Shortly after Kevin's death, the Todd family offered an annual scholarship, in his name, to a Lenape High School graduate who was pursuing a career in the area of the Performing Arts. We thought this would be the way to honor Kevin's memory. God had a different plan!
In 1999, my sister Dennie came to my husband and me and asked if we would help out a family, in need and living with HIV/AIDS in the South Jersey area during the Holidays. We, along with our daughters' soccer team and our neighborhood of Pine Ridge offered to help. We were able to provide a wonderful Christmas celebration for a family that year. The following year, Dennie asked if we were willing to help out yet once again, only for 2 families this time. The simple answer was "yes"! My husband, Tom, turned to me and said, "This is how we should honor Kevin's memory!". Thus, The Spirit of the Holidays was born!
What started out with one family in 1999, has turned into an overwhelming response from our sponsors allowing us to provide for 94 families in 2017!! And we do it all to help those who suffered as Kevin did, as we do it to honor his memory. He is so very much loved and so very much missed.