Rob Thomson's Charities for Children

Posted by — November 13, 2005

Rob Thomson's Charities for ChildrenBy Liz Best, The Palm Beach PostRob Thomson, co-owner of Waterfront Properties and Club Communities, founded Charities for Children, which has distributed about 28,000 toys to needy children in Palm Beach and Martin counties.  Thomson founded Charities for Children last year and distributed about 28,000 toys to children in Palm Beach and Martin counties. He's gearing up to do the same thing this holiday season, despite the upheaval caused by Hurricane Wilma.

Thomson is hoping that the outpouring of support he saw last year will continue. The nonprofit organization will pick up and deliver any donation of new toys. It also accepts money donations. Just drop off your check at any Wachovia Bank, Thomson said. You may also drop off a new, unwrapped toy at any Wachovia location, as well as at Waterfront Properties and at the Bear's Club in Jupiter and Stuart.

Thomson, who dropped out of school because he struggled with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, is the first to admit he's a pushover when it comes to children.

"I've always been into helping people," said Thomson, who with his wife Lorea, share a family of six children. "But children are so helpless. They don't have the ability to help themselves."

The seed for Charities for Children was planted five years ago when Thomson saw a story on television about a teen mother who did not have the means to visit her premature daughter who was hospitalized in Fort Pierce. So Thomson did what any charitable man of means would do.

"I donated the company limo to take her back and forth," he said, adding that it didn't take the local media long to figure out what he was doing. "Within 10 minutes they were in my lobby with their cameras."

Then he took his mission a step further by calling up Bishop Thomas Masters, the high-profile leader of New Macedonia Church of Riviera Beach. Masters told Thomson that about 40 children needed bikes, so Thomson brought in 50 new bikes.

"But once we got there we realized that everybody at his church needed help, so we got 70 more bikes," said Thomson.

By the time the TV cameras started rolling at the bike giveaway, 275 children were scrambling for 120 new bikes.

"I felt like we made 120 children happy and 155 children cry," said Thomson, who proceeded to visit stores from Stuart to Lake Worth buying and begging for bikes and toys. "Before I knew it I could have handed out thousands of toys."

He says he is still the primary source of money for his charity work, although his coworkers and the community are very generous. He is planning a golf tournament and a gala in Palm Beach this winter to raise money for Charities for Children.

And Thomson makes one promise to people who donate to his charity.

"All the money gets given away," he said. "One hundred percent of it lands in the hands of the child."For more information on Charities for Children, call Waterfront Properties at (561) 746-7272.


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