JBA Holiday Project: Spreading the spirit, the Jacksonville Bar Association way

Sponsor a senior citizen, give back to the community and make a wish come true.

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  • | 9:48 a.m. November 1, 2018
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Duval County Judges Eleni Derke and Roberto Arias delivered gifts to senior citizens last holiday season.
Duval County Judges Eleni Derke and Roberto Arias delivered gifts to senior citizens last holiday season.
  • The Bar Bulletin
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By Kimberly Woods, 2018 JBA Senior Holiday Project chair

Once again, the season of giving is upon us. Each year, the Jacksonville Bar Association partners with Aging True and Meals on Wheels to give back to local senior citizens through the JBA Holiday Project. 

Kimberly Woods 2018 JBA Senior Holiday Project chair
Kimberly Woods 2018 JBA Senior Holiday Project chair

Beginning in September, Aging True sends out wish lists to the senior citizens participating in the Meals on Wheels program. The seniors return their lists noting items they wish to receive as gifts. The gifts can range from small appliances to clothing and snacks. 

Attorneys or law firms who wish to be paired with a senior submit their sponsorship interest to the Holiday Project Committee members. Starting in November, sponsors are matched with seniors and then purchase gifts from the selected senior’s wish list.

While some sponsors choose to personally deliver their gifts and spend time with their senior (highly encouraged), officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office volunteer to deliver many of the gifts. 

Many sponsors share photographs and stories about the time they spend with their seniors. Sometimes the seniors share stories about the changing times, their family and loved ones, or even just casual chit-chat. 

Duval County Judges Eleni Derke and Roberto Arias personally delivered their gifts last year and shared this story: 

“Best day of Christmas Season so far: delivered gifts to our seniors through the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Holiday Project. The beautiful woman just turned 101 in October. She was telling us stories and stopped herself because she was about to start crying. The lady (pictured on Page 19) cried and said, “they’re tears of joy!” Such wonderful souls. And the bird, Mandy, sang beautifully for us. It doesn’t get much better than this!”

Carol Wright with Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene also shared her experience with a senior in the program, Doris Maxie King: 

“I had the honor of meeting Ms. Doris Maxie King yesterday afternoon. She is 88 years old, very humble, and a very sweet lady. She is a distant relative of King Holzendorf. Her great-great-grandmother and his great-great-grandfather were brother and sister. Ms. King’s great-great-grandparents worked for Dale Carnegie on Cumberland Island and a lot of her family are buried in the cemetery there. Ms. King was born in Mississippi, but grew up in Camden County, Georgia. She has two degrees. In the last 100 years, 120 people in her family have graduated from college. Ms. King wanted me to convey how very much she appreciated what we did. Ms. King also has four types of cancer.”

We receive many stories like those each year. Sponsors find the experience to be incredibly rewarding and a great way to spread joy during the holiday season. 

Last year, the program achieved record numbers when JBA members were able to provide gifts to more than 400 seniors in the area.

This year, we hope to help just as many, if not more.

Planning for the 2018 Senior Holiday Project is now in full swing. If you would like to participate or sponsor a senior, contact Kimberly Woods at [email protected].

Kimberly Woods is an associate attorney with Baumann, Gant & Keeley PA focusing on insurance defense.



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