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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Monday, Nov. 6, 201706:45 AM EST

The Jba Senior Holiday Project: Join and give back to your community

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
by: By Kimberly Jones & Shea Moser | The JBA Community Outreach Section

The Jacksonville Bar Association partners each year with Meals on Wheels and Aging True to give back to those who are in need through the Senior Holiday Project.

Participating members of the JBA are matched with a senior in the Meals on Wheels program after that organization and Aging True contact seniors who submit a list of items they would like as gifts. The items range from appliances to clothing and snacks. The holiday partner then purchases a gift from their match’s wish list. While some members choose to personally deliver their gifts and even spend time with their senior, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office steps up and delivers the remainder.

Last year, JBA members were able to provide gifts to 275 people. We hope to provide gifts to even more seniors this year.

What we want to share with the community is how rewarding this opportunity is for those who participate. While the purpose of the Senior Holiday Project is to bless others, as is often the case, those who participate are the ones who end up feeling truly blessed.

Don’t take our word for it, see what some of our members have to say about their personal experiences:

“I have been participating in this event for as many years as I can remember. I have always enjoyed being able to provide to those that are not as fortunate, and in some situations, have next to no family around. I have always personally delivered the gifts to the recipients themselves because I have found over the years that I may be the only visitor they have for some time. Last year was the first year I took my son to deliver the gift. The excitement he had in delivering the gift was priceless. He felt like he was playing Santa and I think it meant a lot to our recipient as well to have the visit.”

Michelle Kalil

Duval County judge

“The first time I volunteered to participate in the project, I was shocked to see the items on my senior’s wish list. They included things that we take for granted like a can opener and canned food. My daughter helped me buy all the things on her list. What a lesson for a young child to see that not everyone has access to all the comforts we have gotten accustomed to.

“We delivered the gifts in person. It broke my heart to see this elderly woman living in the most meager, sparse and inadequate environment. She was so grateful for her gifts that I pledged my continued participation in the project.”

Eleni Derke

Duval County judge

“Serving on the JBA Senior Holiday Project Committee for the past two years has been a great way to witness the generosity and commitment of the legal community in Jacksonville. Each year, lawyers and law firms share their time and resources to help brighten the holidays for seniors who may not otherwise receive gifts. If you have ever personally delivered gifts to project participants, you know that the project is also a yearly reminder of the blessings you experience in your own life. I would encourage every member of the JBA to make the commitment to sponsor at least one senior this year.”

John C.W. Cherneski


“The JBA Senior Holiday Project is a wonderful way to reach out and help those most vulnerable and needy in our community. I know many of us do likewise personally and through our worship communities, but this is a direct way to also spread goodwill on behalf of our profession. The truth is that ‘It’s better to give than to receive.’ I’m thankful for the opportunity our profession has given me to be able to give to those less fortunate. And it’s always fun to be able to share the moment with Judge Derke.”

 Roberto Arias

Duval County judge

“The Senior Holiday Project is a great way to kick-start your holiday spirit and give a little happiness to those in our community who need it the most. It is rewarding to know that a local senior is having a happier holiday because of your gift.”

Helen Peacock Roberson



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