Cracker Jacks, Cardinals Gear … And Hugs

Last July, the founders of Andrew’s Hugs presented Community Living with $20,000. The money was donated to Community Living’s Adult Recreation Services to ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy life to the fullest. As the family said, Andrew was fortunate to have the means to pay for the events he participated in with the Adult Recreation program, but they know not everyone is as fortunate.

So far, two events have taken place, which has given 178 Adult Recreation members the opportunity to have a good time.

At the Cardinals game (April 5), 16 members were given the opportunity to purchase food and drink from the concessions with a pre-loaded gift card. For Carlos, going to the game is his treat, but on this night, he was able to order a cheeseburger, fries and soda. He said the night was a lot of fun. “Andrew and I were good buddies,” Carlos said. “I made sure to cheer extra loud and stay happy, because that was the type of person Andrew was.”

The night was fun for the staff, too. “It was exciting to see their faces light up,” Adult Recreation staff said. “They were all so excited when they found out they had the extra money to purchase items they would not normally get to purchase. We got to tell them they could purchase whatever they wanted. The smiles were so worth it.”

The Opening Day Dance was held April 14 at Old Hickory Golf Club. The members met Fred Bird and the Cardinal Cowboy. Everyone enjoyed the night dancing, hanging out with friends and leaving with a box of Cracker Jacks.

Not only did the staff have words of thanks to the Norton family, but so did Adult Recreation members:

  • “Thanks for the dance,” Heidi said.
  • “Thank you very much,” Stephanie said. “I’m having a lot of fun. Tonight I’m staying happy and giving hugs because that’s what Andrew liked to do.”
  • “Thanks for this fun opportunity,” Kevin said.
  • “Thanks for making a significant difference in our members’ lives and for keeping Andrew’s memory alive,” Adult Recreation staff said. “We’re grateful to you (the Nortons) for providing opportunities to our members that they wouldn’t normally receive.”

Because Andrew was a sports enthusiast and attended most of the sporting events, as well as the fall camping trip, most of the opportunities are centered around sports and camping. Upcoming events include an Andrew’s Hugs River City Rascals Baseball Day at the Ballpark (July), St. Louis Football Club Outing (July), St. Louis Blues Outing (in the fall), as well as providing the opportunity for a member to attend the camping trip.

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