- 2011 - November - 29th -
Horizon Board members Donna Bernardis and George Israel packed food baskets to be delivered to Dreams Come True families in need this holiday season.

Nonprofit News: Highlighting Jacksonville’s Philanthropic Community

from staff

As our community continues to face a tight economy and shrinking budgets, the Daily Record has established this feature that will each week chronicle the efforts of local nonprofit organizations. Bailey Publishing & Communications invites all members of the local nonprofit community to submit news, announcements, success stories and any other information they believe would be of interest to our readers. Email submissions to: nonprofitnews@baileypub.com.

We also encourage our readers to become more aware of the needs of these worthy organizations as they continue to provide valuable services with reduced resources.

$10,000 grant for reading program

On Nov. 8, Comcast presented the Interfaith Coalition for Action with a $10,000 community investment grant in support of a reading intervention initiative. The pilot initiative will target 538 students reading below grade level.

“Our long-range plan is to press our school system to expand this program, and implement it with fidelity,” said Bruce Havens, pastor of Arlington Congregational Church and co-chair of the education committee.

“We want all our students to be reading on grade level and prepared to graduate from high school on time,” he said.

“This grant reaffirms our commitment to improving the overall quality of life for Duval County families,” said Bill Ferry, Comcast vice president of government affairs. “Funding will play an important role in helping our students become confident, skilled readers.”

Comcast’s community investment activities in Duval County also include support for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida, the Jacksonville Urban League, the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation and the Monique Burr Foundation for Children.

The Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment is a congregation-based community organization founded in 1997. It is made up of 25 congregations from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic and religious backgrounds. It is a direct action organization that addresses issues of justice in the Jacksonville community by holding city systems accountable to ensure a fair and just society.

Dreams Come True helps families

In the hopes of bringing joy and comfort to some of Dreams Come True’s families, several members of the organization’s Horizon Board delivered Thanksgiving baskets Nov. 21 to families in need.

The baskets were filled with holiday staples: yams, potatoes, corn stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, a turkey and a $50 Publix gift card for additional items the families might need. Cinotti’s Bakery in Jacksonville Beach donated pumpkin pies for each family.

The Dreams Come True Horizon Board is the organization’s young professionals’ group, which was established to educate young professionals about Dreams Come True. 

The board sponsors projects for local dreamers throughout the year, such as the annual Dream Family Holiday Adoption, Thanksgiving Basket Drive, and Special Times (gift cards for dream families, special outings, game tickets, etc.). 

Thanksgiving meals from Main Street America Group

The Main Street America Group collected nearly a ton of nonperishable goods during its annual companywide Thanksgiving food drive.

The regional property/casualty insurance company’s drive donated 1,770 pounds to several food banks in the six cities where Main Street America has offices.

Beneficiaries include the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Florida, which received 685 pounds of food items. All goods were donated by the company’s employees.

Locally based organizations received goods collected during Main Street America’s two-week drive, Oct. 31-Nov. 14.

“Each year, we hold our companywide Thanksgiving food drive because Main Street America is dedicated to making a positive impact in the communities where we work and live,” said Tom Van Berkel, Main Street America’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.

In addition to the annual Thanksgiving food drive, Main Street America also conducts a holiday toy drive each year, benefiting Toys for Tots. The 2011 toy drive is scheduled through Dec. 12. Just like the food drive, all toys are donated by the company’s employees.

Law firm collecting donations for mission

Farah & Farah, one of North Florida’s largest law firms, is collecting personal hygiene and clothing items for people in Jacksonville who might otherwise go without.

The items will be given to residents at the City Rescue Mission’s annual Christmas party.

Items being requested for the drive include toiletries such as soap, shampoo and deodorant; bed sheets and towels; men’s and women’s socks and underwear; and shoeboxes, which will be used as gift boxes and wrapped.

The City Rescue Mission will distribute the gifts as a part of its annual “Shoeboxes of Love” Christmas program.

The nonprofit provides food, clothing, shelter, emergency services and residential recovery programs to homeless men, women and women with children.

Farah & Farah attorneys and staff are purchasing items or donating money to the project. The public is invited to participate as well by dropping off items to the donation bin in the lobby of the Downtown office at 10 W. Adams St. The deadline for dropping off items is Dec. 19.

“Residents at the City Rescue Mission are working to transition from homelessness, so we hope these necessities will make them feel more comfortable,” said founding partner and attorney Eddie Farah.

“Farah and Farah is committed to supporting great organizations like the City Rescue Mission,” he said.

For more information on the drive, contact Christine Hackler at 807-3111.

Golf tournament aids seniors in needs

The Senior Life Foundation’s inaugural charity golf tournament, sponsored by Coggin Chevrolet at the Avenues, netted $13,500.

The proceeds will be used to meet the urgent needs of Duval County seniors whose incomes are below the poverty level and who live independently. That comprises about 40,000 seniors.

Senior Life Foundation President Mari Terbrueggen called the donation a godsend.

“Our volunteers answer calls from desperate seniors who are suddenly short on rent, need an emergency prescription, or are about to have their telephone disconnected. More heartbreaking are those who only have one working burner on their stove, a refrigerator held shut with a bungee cord, or those who are unexpectedly wheelchair-bound with no handicap ramp. These are the seniors we serve, and this donation will provide immediate assistance,” she said.

A field of 14 teams representing auto dealerships, parts suppliers, oil companies, car rental agencies and other friends of the Senior Life Foundation teed off Sept. 26 at Eagle Landing Golf Club in Orange Park. The tournament was organized by Coggin service director Chuck Jones.

Thanking the players at the awards banquet, Coggin General Manager Jeremy Trimble announced that Coggin Chevrolet at the Avenues will sponsor a second tournament for the Senior Life Foundation in fall 2012.

The all-volunteer Senior Life Foundation was established in 2000 and 96 percent of every dollar raised is paid out in direct assistance to seniors. 

The mission of the Senior Life Foundation is to help meet the urgent needs of low-income seniors in Duval County with a rapid response time and to help them live independently and with dignity.

For more information, call the foundation’s emergency help line, 268-9128.

Credit union supports food bank

Community First Credit Union celebrated the grand opening of its Lakewood Branch with a community holiday food drive to benefit Second Harvest North Florida.

Credit union members and those who attended the grand opening were urged to donate food to help Second Harvest provide Thanksgiving meals for local families.

Community First CEO Jon Hirabayashi opened the festivities and greeted the employees and guests.

“We are very proud to be celebrating the opening of a new branch in a growing area of Jacksonville. As we grow, we stand firm in our commitment to help improve the quality of life in or community.

Today we are honored to do this by partnering with another community-focused organization, Second Harvest,” he said.

WEJZ Lite 96.1 FM and its morning show host Arthur Crofton were on hand to participate in the event that included free refreshments, prizes, activities for kids and giveaways, including an iPad 2.

The branch is at the Lakewood Shopping Center at 1670 University Blvd. W.

All donations collected will help Second Harvest feed more than 100,000 people in North Florida who do not have enough food this holiday season.

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