Thaddeus Bullard, AKA Titus O'Neil will be spending this Saturday morning with kids and families at Sligh Middle Magnet School for the Bullard Family Foundation's Joy of Giving.
Bullard, The Bullard Family Foundation, and Metropolitan Ministries will be holding the event Saturday, December 18 to give back to more than 40,000 families. Five families who are pre-registered will also be surprised with a new vehicle.
"It's not just about handing somebody a gift. It's about handing them an opportunity, working with them through that opportunity," Thaddeus Bullard told ABC Action News. "And that's why providing adequate transportation and providing gifts and providing rental assistance and things that we do in conjunction with other organizations gives us the ability to do exactly what was done to me, which is to show people that we love them and that we believe in them, and that we give them a chance to come into self-sufficiency."
Bullard credits those that helped him succeed in life and inspire him to give back to Tampa Bay families.
"But I want the folks that live here and are from here to be able to have something positive and prideful in their neighborhood. And so that's the reason why we do it," explained Bullard. "But I want to continue to bring as much positive press and positive outcomes out of this community. Because we do have a great, great source of very creative and loving people that live in this area that need to lift and lead up. And if I can bring some exposure to what all the great work that's being done over here, with different partners, it just only enhances our opportunity to give do even more. So that's why."
He continued, "This zip code is the sixth-highest zip code in the state of Florida for children living in poverty, and anybody that knows my soft spot is children. And so if we can continuously work with partners and work with the Florida chamber up in Tallahassee to try to decrease that number significantly by 2030, we'll do that. That's the reason why the prosperity center is here for everyone in the zip code. That's the reason why the school is going over and over more and more transformations and we're adding more and more things here. So that kids that live in this community and live in this area can have not only something to be proud of but also something that they can be exposed to. That will help them for generations to come."
The event kicks off with a Gasparilla-style parade at 9:01 a.m. at the Bullard Academy at Sligh Middle Magnet School. You'll find Krewe floats along with marching bands. Retired Major Rocky Ratliff, who spent three decades with the Tampa Police Department, will serve as Grand Marshal.
They will have complimentary food and entertainment for families, too.
New this year the school’s gym will be completely transformed into Titus Wonderland.