Bobby Siears is bringing hope to families who have lost a child.
The former cabinet maker turned casket builder is helping families by crafting and donating cypress caskets for children.
Siears said God called him one morning into the ministry that gives hope to grieving families.
He donates the caskets through the Sorrento-based nonprofit The Little Angels Foundation and delivers them from Gonzales to as far away as South Carolina.
But money to support Siears’ calling is running low.
To keep the foundation thriving, Siears is asking the community to bail Batman out of jail. The Bailout Batman promotion is a fundraiser for The Little Angels Foundation that was kicked off recently with a news conference where the Gonzales chief of police asked for the public’s help. The premise is that someone stole the Batmobile, committed a crime and framed Batman. Batman was arrested, and he needs the community’s help to bail him out. Bail is set at $15,000.
“It’s a fun way to promote the Batmobile and raise money for the foundation,” Siears’ daughter and foundation Executive Director Shae Siears said.
The foundation’s version of the famous crime-fighting vehicle is a 1977 Corvette with a Ferrari body kit featuring custom leather and paint. A video on the foundation’s website shows the car in action.
Since October 2012, The Little Angels Foundation has helped 80 families, mostly locally, but others in six states as well. Once Bobby Siears completes a casket, Shae Siears sews the material inside of it. The 80 caskets built to date are only a fraction of the requests the Siearses have received, Shae Siears said.
“People lose children much more than we realize,” she said.
Siears said her father has used much of his savings to keep the organization afloat. In 2013, the foundation amassed $90,000 through fundraisers and Wal-Mart community grants to build and deliver the caskets; however, the monthly operating costs average more than $13,000 a month.
The foundation donates an average of five caskets a month, which cost from $575 to $5,000 to build, depending on the size of the casket. It can take anywhere from one day to complete a smaller casket to a week to complete larger ones, she said.
The foundation donated five caskets to families last week but Siears said she had to turn down two families because the foundation didn’t have the inventory of caskets to fill the requests.
“What we’re looking for are monthly pledges and business sponsors,” Siears said.
The goal now is to make bail for Batman by Sept. 21, Siears said. The foundation will host a Party in the Park to celebrate Batman’s freedom at Jambalaya Park in Gonzales. It will include a meet and greet with Batman, clowns creating animal balloons, a train ride and displays of the Batmobile and the Joker’s car. The party is free.
The Batmobile is being raffled off, and tickets are $1. The car will be given away Oct. 26 at the second annual Family Fall Festival at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.
“This isn’t something leisurely for him,” Siears said of her father, who is having a variety of health problems. “He has dedicated his life to helping these families.”
To donate, visit gofundme/bailoutbatman.
In addition to the Batman Bailout and the Fall Festival, The Little Angels Foundation will host the second annual Angel Affair Winter Gala featuring the Chee Weez on Nov. 22 at Elegant Affair, 14190 Airline Highway, Gonzales. The event will feature a dinner buffet, an open bar, a live auction and door prizes. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at thelittle angelsfoundation.org.