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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Nov. 16, 201612:00 PM EST

Nonprofit news: Gamers raised nearly $17,000 for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals


Game lovers of all levels and categories — console, mobile, PC and tabletop — had a 24-hour marathon Nov. 5 to improve the lives of children living in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.

Extra Life, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals program, is a nationwide fundraising effort that adds a life-saving purpose to playing video, board and lawn games.

In the Jacksonville/Brunswick community, gamers raised $16,982 to provide medical equipment, educational resources and activities for Wolfson Children’s Hospital and UF Health Jacksonville. Children in the hospitals have gaming as a distraction from their medical challenges.

Whether playing solo or on a team, marathon participants invited friends and family members to donate toward their personal fundraising pages, often sharing their stories and connections to the cause. Some players even broadcast their efforts via live stream to encourage their fans around the world to make a contribution.

While many completed the marathon from home, the Jacksonville Guild hosted a 12-hour live game-day marathon in the University of North Florida Student Union ballroom and encouraged participants to bring their consoles, PCs and tabletop sets.

The event included a live gaming stream and interactive entertainment while showcasing local families who have been impacted by treatment at CMN Hospitals.

Preparations are being made for the 2017 event. Interested gamers can follow Extra Life Team Jax on Facebook or sign up at

$20,000 for Pine Castle

The Players Championship volunteer leadership –– the Red Coats –– accompanied by Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles continued Giving Back Month with a visit to Pine Castle, which received a $5,000 grant from the tournament earlier this year.

The Red Coats and Bortles toured the facility and an on-site residential home, visited residents and surprised them with gifts including blankets, candy and new TVs for the men’s home.

The volunteers also made a surprise $10,000 donation to Pine Castle, which was matched by Bortles, totaling $20,000 for the organization. Pine Castle serves adults with intellectual and other disabilities and provides support to their families.

Credit union donates to disaster relief

First Florida Credit Union gave $5,000 to The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida to help with Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts in the Jacksonville area.

The donation will support the nonprofit’s immediate and long-term work in disaster relief for Northeast Florida.

“The effects of Hurricane Matthew are still being felt in our community,” said Salvation Army of Northeast Florida Area Cmdr. Rob Vincent. “We are so grateful for First Florida Credit Union’s continued generosity and support of our efforts to help those who have been affected by the storm.”

Ameris Bank makes deposit for food banks

Ameris Bank’s 7th annual companywide Helping Fight Hunger food drive collected more than 39,500 non-perishable food items that were donated to 10 food banks in Northeast Florida.

The campaign allowed a food bank in every town with an Ameris Bank location to receive the donation of goods collected at the local branch, plus a monetary donation from Ameris Bancorp. Last year, Ameris Bank collectively donated $100,000 to food banks.

According to Feeding America, hunger in America exists for more than 46 million people including 12 million children and 7 million seniors throughout the United States.

For more information, visit

Golfers tee off for Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville hosted its third annual Golf Classic at Timuquana Country Club, raising $140,000 to support the organization that serves as a home away from home for families that travel to Jacksonville for their child’s medical care.

Presented by Fields Auto Group, major sponsors of the event included Conser Moving Solutions, Florida Blue and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Additional sponsors were AON, Arlington Lion’s Club, Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, Eastern Quality Foods, Florida Combined Life, GHG Insurance, Haskell, Florida McDonald’s Co-Op (Jacksonville), Jacksonville University, Jaguars Foundation, Martin-Brower Co., Miller Electric, Peter Kuchar, Skechers, Swisher International, The Florida Times Union and, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute and WG Pitts.

More information is available at

Be a holiday gift angel for a foster child

Family Support Services of North Florida is partnering with Watson Realty Corp. to brighten the holidays for local children in foster care.

The Be an Angel holiday gift drive allows people and groups to donate gifts on the wish lists of local foster children.

The program focuses on holiday gifts for older children in foster care, age 10 and older, who typically don’t receive gifts through donation programs geared toward younger children in the community.

Eight drop-off locations at realty offices are available in Jacksonville for donating unwrapped gifts by Dec. 6. For wish lists and locations, visit; email [email protected]; or call (904) 418-5816.

No time to shop? Donate at and the organization will do the shopping for you.

Family Support Services is the lead agency for adoption and foster care in Duval and Nassau counties.

Toast of the Coast Dec. 1 to benefit Cathedral Arts Project

On Dec. 1, First Coast Magazine will host the second annual Toast of the Coast craft cocktail competition and showcase the talent of Northeast Florida’s best mixologists.

Fifteen professional cocktail makers will be at the Jessie Ball duPont Center serving their creations, giving attendees the opportunity to sample their concoctions and vote for their favorite drink.

At the end of the evening, both a People’s Choice and a Judge’s Choice winner will be announced and awarded a prize along with bragging rights.

A portion of the event proceeds and all revenue from a silent auction will benefit two charities, the Cathedral Arts Project and the CAPtivators, who are young leaders who promote the Cathedral Arts Project’s mission by raising awareness for arts education for Jacksonville’s children.

The Chris Thomas Band will perform during the event and Restaurant Orsay and Biscottis will be serving snacks for guests.

General admission tickets are $45 through Nov. 30. Designated driver tickets are $15 and do not include craft cocktail samples.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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