Children are referred to Joy through organizations like FIT (Families In Transition), Starting Point, CIS (Communities In Schools), and Florida Psychological Associates.
A data sheet has been completed on each child… giving specifics on their age, gender, weight, height, sizes, interests, hobbies, and wish list.
Events are scheduled through early December with about 40 volunteers attending each. One volunteer shops for one child at a time using their data sheet. We have events for Toy Shopping and Clothes Shopping.
Meanwhile, we have volunteer Board Members who head up other gift committees. Board Members shop for Backpacks, School Supplies, Hygiene Items, Books, Pillows, Sheets, and Blankets… specific to each child’s age, needs and interests.
Other Board Members take care of our Meal and Food donations, Entertainment, and Family Transportation needs.
On specific days volunteers then re-appear to help with the Transporting of Gifts from storage shed to party location. With over 100 Volunteers coming near the end of the process to help wrap all the gifts… at our Wrapping Party. Many more come to help with Decorating and Setting Up.
Families receive their special invitation in the mail and arrive on Christmas Day in anticipation. To ensure our families of need are able to attend the party, the families who need assistance with transportation are provided with transportation.
About 10o Volunteers arrive early on Christmas Day to ensure that everything is in order and ready to go. They put on their smiles, their humility, and are ready to serve.
Our Christmas Day party is no ordinary party. It starts off with every one being served a full holiday meal (all of which was cooked and donated by local restaurants). There is beautiful holiday music, typically played by a live band. The children are invited to sing along individually or in groups. Pirates invade, Pound Puppies mingle, Clowns interact, Balloon Figurines are made and handed out, Faces are painted, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive and take pictures with the children…. And then… the many gifts are dispersed.
Every child receives: Clothes, Toys, a bag full of Hygiene items, a Backpack full of School Supplies and Books, a Pillow, Sheets, and a Blanket. Many times their bags are so full of gifts that they are larger than they are!
The children are happy, smiling, and full of good cheer. There is hope, love, and gratitude in their eyes. The parents are typically so thankful and overwhelmed they have been brought to tears.
The volunteers not only feel honored to have served, they get the unexpected and surprising gift of love themselves.
Hearts are filled with JOY! From beginning to end, the true meaning and gift of Giving and Receiving is exemplified in Joy To The Children.
We are grateful to all our Donors and Volunteers. It is only through their kindness and generosity that Joy is able to make certain that the financially disadvantaged children in Nassau County, Florida, have a very special Christmas.