This year will mark my eighth year working with Joy to the Children. Since 2003 I have watched hundreds of volunteers put in thousands of hours. I have seen senior citizens, teenagers, and entire families fill the Yulee Middle School cafeteria on wrapping day and excitedly wrap presents for people they have never met and never will. I have seen people show up on Christmas Day to serve others, even though they had to leave their own families at home on what is considered one of the most special “family” days of the year. I have seen local restaurants prepare and deliver enough food to feed over 300 people on one of the few days of the year that their businesses are not open. I have seen local businesses and residents make financial contributions to help provide a wonderful Christmas to over 160 Nassau County children and their families. In short, I have seen the best in many of our county’s residents.
This Christmas, Joy to the Children will celebrate its seventeenth year in existence. The endeavor started with 36 children and over the years has served close to 2500 children and their families. Joy to the Children is an all volunteer organization and no one is paid for the time spent preparing for or helping on Christmas Day. Joy’s families are selected through 18 Naussau County schools and service organizations. Agency lists are cross referenced to ensure that assistance is going to benefit as many families as possible.
It truly is a joy every year to see the smiles on the faces of not only the children and their families we serve, but also the smiles on the faces of the volunteers involved. Our organization has been a blessing to the thousands of people who have been involved throughout the years. If you have the opportunity to give of your time or money this year, I believe you will experience the same joy that I and many others have felt.