It was in the mid-’90s that I became aware of The AIDS Foundation for Children. My friend, musician Pat Guadagno told me about this Newark-based organization that helps those children, individuals, and families who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.

The number of children impacted by HIV/AIDS is staggering. These are children who were orphaned or who are fighting the disease or coping with family members who are inflicted with the disease.

Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya on Unsplash
Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya on Unsplash
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Faye and Terry Zealand started the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children in 1987. The couple was inspired to organize the charity after coming across an orphan child fighting a terrible disease. Not only did they open their hearts to the cause, but they also opened their wallets and found ways to adequately fund a necessity in Newark.

They opened St. Clare’s Home for children with AIDS. They soon after purchased an old firehouse in Newark that the city was going to auction. Faye and Terry scraped together enough money for them to take over the space that they desperately needed as the St. Clare House was getting pretty cramped.

The Big Joe Henry Variety Show
The Big Joe Henry Variety Show
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Pat Guadagno and I along with some very resourceful and compassionate friends met with Faye and Terry. I was taken aback by the full-on commitment they made to help these children and their families. The stories were gut-wrenching. We asked if they needed anything and they responded with the need for a boiler for the old St. Clare House. The house was cold as it was the start of winter. We had a boiler installed in just over a week and a fond relationship and friendship were set.

Christmas presents
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Some friends and I would get together and buy toys for the children for the holidays. I enjoyed that although I scared a couple of people in Target as I am 6’4” and north of 300lbs and was in the Barbie aisle frantically looking for Malibu Barbie.

The firehouse provided after-school programs, arts, crafts, music, and a safe haven to those children affected by HIV/AIDS who had nowhere to go after school.

They have constantly built more programs and provided comfort to so many.

Faye, Terry, and their staff are the epitome of what’s right here in New Jersey. I hope you can see it in your heart to help them continue their mission.

You can give here: aidsresource.org
Thank you.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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