HOMESTEAD, FL (MSG Alex Licea) – In the spirit of the holiday season, service members assigned to Special Operations Command South participated in a series of toy distributions to give back to the community during the month of December.
The toy events, sponsored by the Kiwanis Organization-Homestead chapter, benefits thousands of underprivileged and special needs children across Homestead and Florida City.
This is the third consecutive year SOCSOUTH has partnered with the Kiwanis in bringing the Christmas spirit to local area children.
This year, SOCSOUTH delivered toys to the children of West Homestead Elementary School, The Arc of South Florida and the Conservatory of the Arts School.
Kiwanis is a worldwide service organization for individuals who want to participate in the improvement of their community, with a major emphasis on supporting children of all ages through worthy causes.
The event is spearheaded by Charles and Emilia Gugliuzza who are heavily involved in several charity-based initiatives.
“It’s a joy to give back to the community,” said Emilia Gugliuzza.
“We are so happy to be a part of this and I love to see the children so excited.”
The Kiwanis started organizing the toy distribution in 2003, and they hand out toys in over 30 locations across South Florida.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brian Masterson said it is an honor for him to work with the Kiwanis on these types of projects.
“It has truly been an honor to support the Kiwanis another year with their efforts to distribute toys to the local community,” said Masterson, who serves as the SOCSOUTH Senior Warrant Officer Adviser. “The Kiwanis is an amazing organization whose charity, especially at Christmas, is extremely important to the Homestead area. There is nothing more fulfilling than to help make children happy during Christmas.”
During each event, children met Santa Claus and received a gift.
More than 1,200 children attended and were given toys during the three days SOCSOUTH supported the Kiwanis events.
SOCSOUTH continues to serve a vital role in the local community.
Along with supporting events like this, SOCSOUTH’s has an ongoing mentorship program called the Special Operations Command Military Assistance Program or SOCMAP.