A merry band of local drag queens -- known in their community as the Dream Queens, charitable drag entertainers with hearts of gold -- performed a Christmas miracle on Christmas Eve for homeless children at the Chapman Partnership in Homestead.
The queens collected more than 400 toys and essentials for needy children and their families and delivered them directly to the Chapman Partnership's homeless children and families on Sunday, Dec. 24, after the closing of the R House Wynwood Sunday drag brunch.
Head organizer and hostess of The Lab Fridays at Score and the drag brunch at R House, Athena Dion, born Stavros Stavrakis, said her heart was "overwhelmed with joy and accomplishment" after the delivery of the toys.
"We delivered over 400 toys and supplies to the children and families at the Chapman Partnership Homeless Shelter in Homestead," Dion said. "Jason Jasmine Cobian made a last-minute delivery from Fort Lauderdale right before departure. Olga Dantelly was our very own Santa Claus. TP Lords and Brad Wofford (DJ Sushiman) set up an amazing display for the kids. Kalah Mendoza was our very own little elf. Toni Llerena (Tlo Ivy) and myself gave some runway classes. Helen Degenerate was our toy moderator. A big thanks to Logan Almazan for guiding me to this shelter and being by my side through it all."
Dion added "there are so many people to thank; so many people made this possible. A big thanks to everyone who donated, all the venues who were donation sites and especially my Dream Queens! This is community! Merry Christmas!"
Logan Almazan, a trauma and burns critical care registered nurse at the Ryder Trauma Center, said the event was a "huge success for Dream Queens' first event!"
"It's time to change the world one smile at a time...to inspire people to give to many in need," Almazan said. "To have them feel the emotions I do with what I've done is the best winning feeling ever. I wish every one could feel this. I'm telling you it's the best high...beats any pill out there! I hope this kind of love becomes contagious and will inspire many to give just a little time and love with our next Dream Queens event."
DJ Sushiman, also known as Brad Wofford, said the toy drive and distribution by the Dream Queens was a successful night, "for doing a good cause for the kids on Christmas."
"I got emotional when I arrived there [Chapman Partnership]...when I pushed the cart into the room. I will do this again next year, for sure," Sushiman said.
Efrain Robinson Reyes, a regular at the R House Wynwood Sunday drag brunch, said the event was "beautiful."
"Thank you to Miss Florida F.I. Kalah Mendoza and her partner in crime, Ultimate Miami's Athena Dion, and everyone else who donated or were involved in any way to make this happen! #MiamiUnited," Reyes said.
Helen Degenerate said she was happy to spend her Christmas Eve "giving back to the community, which I have not done in too long. I had so much fun with all the divas in Homestead tonight. Let’s plan something else ASAP," she said.
Mendoza said she wanted to give toys to those who need it most and she asked Dion to help her.
"She and her Dream Queens made everything possible," Mendoza said. "First, Athena, thank you for having that great heart and making everything come out better. Today, I had the greatest Christmas gift and was able to join forces with my sisters and my community and help others. The gift delivery was spectacular and we had a golden time! Thanks to all the clubs that joined this initiative: Score, R House, Azucar, Palace, Molto, Athena and the Dream Queens...and DJ Sushiman, Dale Stine, TP Lords, Tlo Ivy, Taina Norell, Olga Dantelly...in the end, to all a thousand thanks! This is just the beginning of many initiatives that Dream Queens will realize."