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Stein Mart hosted its “18 Kids of Christmas” party at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Dec. 17 for 18 children and their families served by Dreams Come True, the locally based dream-granting organization for children with life-threatening illnesses.

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 page 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 to: nonprofitnews@baileypub.com. We encourage our readers to become more aware of the needs of these worthy organizations as they continue to provide much-needed services with reduced resources.

‘18 Kids of Christmas’ at Stein Mart

For more than 18 years, Stein Mart has hosted a Christmas party for dream recipients of Dreams Come True.

This year’s event at Veterans Memorial Arena included food courtesy of CiCi’s Pizza in Orange Park, whose owners have been involved for 15 years; ice cream and cookies; a visit from Santa Claus, with gifts provided by Stein Mart; and tours of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office vehicles and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department engines.

Jacksonville Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville was on hand to help spread the holiday joy.

Following the celebration, dreamers were escorted in marked and unmarked JSO vehicles to local Stein Mart stores, where they each received additional gifts and a $50 gift card.

Community Hospice reaccredited

Community Hospice of Northeast Florida was reaccredited as a Jewish hospice by the National Institute for Jewish Hospice, joining more than 60 hospices nationwide.

The accreditation process provides staff training, insights on treating Jewish patients who are seriously ill and access to resources and education about Jewish customs and practices that may arise while caring for a Jewish patient near the end of life.

"While Community Hospice is a nondenominational organization, we strive to meet the spiritual end-of-life needs of all patients and family members in our care," said Mary McElroy, chief nursing officer for Community Hospice, who attended the 28th annual accreditation conference in New Jersey.

Community Hospice, as part of its multidisciplinary approach to care, recognizes the need to manage not only the physical symptoms associated with a serious illness, but also to alleviate the spiritual and psychological distress patients face, said Rabbi Mona Decker, a member of the chaplain staff at Community Hospice.

"The (institute's) curriculum addresses the unique concerns Jewish patients and their families may have about choosing Community Hospice to care for their sick loved one," said Decker. "It also provides guidance on end-of-life issues and discusses Jewish rituals at death and during the mourning period. Our staff are coached to identify specific beliefs, customs, laws and needs of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and secular or non-practicing Jews."

Patients and families interested in requesting care or wishing to learn more may call (904) 407-6500 or visit CommunityHospice.com.

Natural Life partners with Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center

When Art Mandelbaum, president of Jacksonville-based Natural Life, discovered that Duval County incarcerates more girls than Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa combined, he decided to send encouragement to the girls in foster care and detention centers this holiday season.

Partnering with the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, Natural Life gathered more than 500 gifts that were distributed through the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a program of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

"When we learned that these girls may not even receive any holiday gifts this year, we wanted to change that. At Natural Life, we believe in using our passion and resources to make a meaningful difference in this world through our products that inspire and carefully selected programs that pay it forward," Mandelbaum said.

The center was established with financial support from Delores Barr Weaver of Jacksonville, a lifelong advocate for girls and young women.

The center is a national model for a gender-responsive, community-specific approach to girls in the juvenile justice and foster care systems, conducting research, developing model programming, providing training and advocating for policies and practices that best support the complex needs of girls.

Comedy to benefit Family Promise

Christian comedian Anita Renfroe scored a hit with the YouTube video of her singing everything a mother says to her children in a single day to the tune of "The William Tell Overture.

Renfroe is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at CrossRoad Church along Gate Parkway. The show benefits Family Promise of Jacksonville.

Tickets purchased by Jan. 15 are $10 for general admission. Tickets for groups of 10 or more are $10 per person and Meet & Greet tickets $20, which includes front-row seats plus a reception with Renfroe.

Information is available at familypromisejax.org.

Family Promise of Jacksonville is a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping homeless families obtain employment and permanent housing.

'Gift of color' for Catholic Charities

Performance Painting is doing its share of giving back to the community by providing a local charity with a "gift of color." This year's winner, Camp I Am Special, a charity of Catholic Charities, will be receiving $7,500 worth of painting services and Catholic Charities is "paying it forward."

When Catholic Charities employees saw the video of the Williams family and their need for a paint makeover due to their home being destroyed by fire, they wanted to help.

"Helping both Camp I Am Special and helping Catholic Charities pay it forward to the Williams family allows us to give back in a much grander way and gives us a sense of giving within the company," said Jason Parker, owner of Performance Painting.

In addition to providing the paint makeover to Camp I Am Special, Performance Painting will be donating the paint and project management to oversee the painting of the Williams family home. Catholic Charities will be organizing volunteers to paint the home after the house has been structurally restored.

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