The Story of The Little Robusto Project
For those of you who come here often, you already know or at least have an idea of what The Little Robusto Project is. “Little Robusto” was the affectionate nickname I gave my son JJ. Sadly, JJ passed away on November 2, 2007 from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) while at daycare when he was just 3.5 months old. When JJ was born, the first cigar I smoked to celebrate his birth was the Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ. A cigar blended by father (Jose Pepin Garcia) and son (Jaime Garcia) team at My Father Cigars. Even though JJ isn’t with us anymore, I still celebrate his birthday. Every July 22nd, I light up a Series JJ just like I did when he was born. Many of you have joined me every year and so, Smoke a JJ for JJ Day was born.
In 2010, for Smoke a JJ for JJ Day, my good friend Barry from acigarsmoker.com and others raised money for SIDS. It was a such a popular social media event that it caught the attention of My Father Cigars who joined and participated, even matching the money that Barry and others raised. This was the beginning of The Little Robusto Project. From retailers to bloggers, many had a hand in this and I’m really not sure whose idea it actually was but there was enough support for My Father Cigars to make a special “Little Robusto” version of the Series JJ to raise money for SIDS.
At the 2011 IPCPR show in Las Vegas, Jose Ortega, officially announced that the Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ “Little Robusto” (pictured above) would be made. The “Little Robusto” is a 4.5 x 50 short robusto. It features a Broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo filler. 300 (24 count) boxes were made with a MSRP of $6 a cigar (doesn’t include any taxes).
Where Does My Money Go? – This will vary by retailer as I’ve left it up to them to decide what percentage will go to two charities:
The Center for Infant and Child Loss works with Maryland families and communities facing the sudden unexpected death of their infant or child as they learn to live with their loss. The Center is committed to increasing the understanding of sudden infant and child death, risk reduction practices, grief, and compassionate intervention.
First Candle – First Candle is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to safe pregnancies and the survival of babies through the first years of life. Their current priority is to eliminate Stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) with programs of research, education and advocacy.
Like I said, I left the actual percentage up to each individual retailer. Your mileage will vary but I’m happy to say some retailers have already committed that 100% will go to charity.
Where Do I Buy The Little Robusto? – Participating retailers include W.Curtis Draper, Buckhead Cigar, Cigar Connections, Delaware Cigars, Ruben’s Smoke Stack, Smoke Inn and Atlantic Cigar all carry the “Little Robusto”. I’ll update this post as I hope the retailer list grows.
Personal Note – I want to thank My Father Cigars especially Jose Ortega and Janny Garcia for making this happen. Like true friends you asked nothing of me and offered to do this out of the goodness of your heart. I also want to thank my retailer, blogger, online and real life friends (some of you fall into multiple categories). Whenever you guys saw Jose Ortega at events you always asked about the status of The Little Robusto Project. You never forget about him.
When JJ passed away we had prayer cards made. One part of that prayer card read:
When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing
I hope this classifies as a good deed and that my “Little Robusto” is a little prouder of his papa.