By Jennifer Heller
2020 launched with great anticipation, with many thinking, “this is my year.” Then COVID-19 hit and changed lives for many, leaving 6.8% of Americans without jobs and creating great needs across the US. The pandemic has potentially left more than 50 million people hungry, including 17 million children, and there has been a rise in the homeless community throughout the country. This need exists right here in our corner of the world, the greater Jacksonville area.
We know many are looking to give back during the holidays and giving can mean more than just gifts.
Interested in doing your part to help change lives this holiday? Set aside some time with your friends, family, small group or co-workers to make a difference in 2020. Here are just a few local organizations to consider.
A Simple Gesture: Local Ways to Donate
Jax Beach Brothers Keeper: Jax Beach Brothers Keeper is a movement to help the homeless in Jacksonville Beach. “It starts with a smile and ends with a meal …. And everything in between” is the premise. JBBK hands out donated McDonald’s gift cards each week to those in need of a meal at McDonalds (and use of a clean restroom). They also provide hygiene and toiletry items, along with warm clothes. Plus, they deliver lots of love. Your help with our Beaches homeless community could be as easy as donating some gift cards this holiday!
Hope for the Holidays: Hope for the Holidays, run by the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation, will feed 5,000 at-risk families in our community, and the numbers will continue to increase! A $10 donation will feed 1 family, $100 feeds 10 families, $1,000 feeds 100 families. You can donate online.
The Gift of Time: Hands On Options
The Clara White Mission: The Clara White Mission is dedicated to serving the needs of the Jacksonville community’s less fortunate. It has been around for over 100 years and has programs covering food, education and housing. You can give the gift of time by being a feeding volunteer this holiday.
Bright Holidays: Bright Holidays aims to help improve the lives of the Jacksonville area underprivileged students and their family during the holidays since 2003. Volunteers are needed.
Receive AND Give: Buy to Give
The Sulzbacher Center: Sulzbacher addresses all aspects of homelessness including housing, income and healthcare. Sulzbacher and Sweet Pete’s partner during the holidays with Sulzbacher Sweets by Sweet Pete’s, selling chocolate and candy gifts! A significant portion of the proceeds goes directly to help those in need to become independent, self-sufficient and in permanent housing.
Make Shopping Count! Let’s be honest, we ALL use Amazon, especially these days when we are hesitant to go into the store. Did you know Amazon includes the AmazonSmile program? The AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of your purchase cost to your selected charitable organization. If you’re going to shop, why not make it count with the added benefit of a donation to your favorite local charity?