In 1994, Roz Weiss and her chiropractor husband, Dr. Don Weiss, had the idea of providing a special day of joy at holiday time for underprivileged children. After being turned down by many organizations, Roz contacted Rubye Caesar, a woman who was dedicated to supporting less fortunate children in North Philadelphia. Together they hosted the first holiday party. Seventy-five children from a local elementary school received a hot meal, a gift, lots of attention and plenty of love!
The Weisses and Rubye planned to have another party the following year. However, in February of 1995, Rubye passed away suddenly. In Rubye's memory, Roz named the event Rubye's Kids Holiday Party. The holiday party has grown to include 500 children from 12 schools and 4 homeless shelters in Philadelphia. The children still receive a hot lunch and a gift and, in addition, a book of their choice, school supplies, t-shirts and numerous other give-a-ways. They have a day of fun and entertainment--activities, a carnival, music, face-painting, clowns and more--and they are surrounded by volunteers offering them unconditional love. The smiles on the children's faces are a gift to all of us who participate.
Because the need is so great, we have expanded our horizons and are now helping children all year long. Rubye's Kids, Inc. hosts birthday parties for children living in homeless shelters and creates Rubye's Kids Learning Centers with computers, books and brightly-colored furniture there. Through our Backpack Project, sturdy backpacks filled with school supplies have been given to more than 2,000 children in shelters, and our most recent pilot project, Parting Gifts, offers children who are finally transitioning out of the shelter system items they can use in their new homes. In addition, Rubye's Kids Closets provide essential school supplies for needy children on an ongoing basis in inner-city schools.