web page is provided as a service to KISS, a not for
profit trust, which provides assistance to children
throughout the the Florida Keys.
- Kids in Special Situations can be found on the Web at
is supported and operated by volunteers. Founded in 1987,
KISS Trust Inc. operates in the Upper & Middle
Florida Keys, helping needy children, mostly at Christmas
and throughout the year.
1991 KISS was organized as an Irrevocable Trust, sales
tax and 501 ( c ) 3. For more information about the Kiss
Trust mission, please click on ABOUT
KISS TRUST .
KISS if you would like to help out or contribute to the
organization's mission. KISS relies strictly on private
donations and does not receive grants from federal or
state sources. KISS does not directly solicit funds from
individuals, by phone or in businesses. In this way, KISS
aims to only reach the people who are able, and want, to
make a donation on their own.
TRUST INC., P.O. Box 38, Tavernier, Fl 33070
E-Mail Received in December of 2005 from Kisstrustinc@aol.com with some history on KISS - Kids in Special Situation
They could be fighting in Iraq now. Or walking the beat as a cop in New York. Or fishing a tournament offshore in Venezuela. Or just about anything else.
The one thing they have in common is that they are KISS - Kids in Special Situation - alumni. One of thousands of anonymous kids who have been given a leg up by literally hundreds of an Anonymous people in the Florida Keys over the past two decades.
It all started out because one Islamorada fishing captain - Carlos DelValle - had a thing for kids, especially during the holidays. He cashed in on it by trying each week to win a "Name the Photo" contest in a local newspaper to get two more tickets to a local restaurant to take some more needy kids to dinner.
Working on the front desk of the newspaper at the time was Marie Taylor-Whitney who, after finding Carlos at the front door when the paper opened several weeks in a row, asked him why he was trying to win so many free meals.
When she discovered Carlos' reason the two of them got their heads together and decided the next logical step would be simply to throw a big Christmas party, including dinner and gifts, for all the needy kids in the Upper Keys.
It sounded like a tall order, but when asked to help people willingly volunteered. The late "Mama" Cleta Hartman, who ran the kitchen and restaurant at the old Harry's Place in Tavernier took on the task of feeding the multitudes - what was perceived as a small gathering in the beginning literally turned into a multitude of kids in the years to come.
It started out as the "No Names, No Photos" Christmas Party for Kids in Special Situations. The kids that got invited were identified by various social service groups in the county - kids who would not otherwise have had a Christmas due to circumstances beyond their control.
The first party saw almost 100 kids show up, from foster-care children to children from homes where domestic situations had developed literally putting them on the streets during the holiday season had it not been for the KISS contact.
No one ever left a "No Names, No Photos" Christmas Party with a dry eye.
From the beginning, aware of the needs of foster care children and the small allowance the state provided foster parents to care for them, it was decided that KISS would provide more than just Christmas dinner and the typical Christmas presents. The first thing purchased for each child was a pair of shoes good enough to last them at least a year. Next on each kid's list was underwear and other essentials, again enough to last a year. And then came the toys.
By the end of the third "No Names, No Photos" Christmas party over 300 needy children were being taken care of annually by the KISS group of volunteers. Donations to support the operations came in from across the community. The coverage of the group extended to the Middle Keys.
Some Christmases every kid who came to the party got a free bicycle. Prisoners in the Monroe County Jail rebuild confiscated bikes with parts donated by a local bike shop until there were enough of them for every kid that came to the party.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office had always been supportive of the KISS project. One year, on the day of the Christmas party, deputies brought two kids who had just seen their mother critically beaten by their father up in the Everglades. They desperately needed the warm, down-home comfort of the "No Names, No Photos" Christmas party.
The demand for KISS services, which had been expanded to year-around in instances where kids needed something "right now" and their was no one else to deliver, grew beyond the capacity of the old Harry's Place to handle the annual party. Mama Cleta died and Harry's Place eventually went under the wrecker's ball.
DelValle, seeing what lay ahead, incorporated KISS as KISS Trust, Inc. - the name under which it still operates today. Hundreds of Florida Keys children are served by it 12 months out of each year with the Christmas holiday season being the prime time. Kids today still get the basic necessities they got in the beginning, plus toys that befit their age.
Their anonymity is protected as it always has been.
The program is supported by volunteers and donations from the community.
If you would like to participate contact:
KISS, ( Kids In Special Situations) 154 Sebring Drive Tavernier, FL 33070
To volunteer contact Ms. Angie King 305 853- 9756
in the FABULOUS
find out more about Kids' activities and places to see to
make your children's visit to the Keys a rewarding and
worthwhile experience, CLICK on the links in the
navigtion bar to the left or provided below.