Once again, it’s the Holiday Season! As everyone braces themselves for crowds and traffic and gets excited for treats and gifts, we’d like to remember the most important part of this time of year: giving! It’s time for family and friends, time for traditions old and new, and time for making memories. In the spirit of the holidays, Front Street wants to spread love and joy to those in our communities. Thus, it is time for Front Street’s 4th Annual 12 Days of Giving! During 12 Days of Giving, Front Street carries out random acts of kindness, and we hope this serves to inspire each of you to find time and kindness in your hearts to give back to those in your community! Take a look at the 12 Days of Giving from 2015, 2016 and 2017.
On the first day of giving, we sponsored the Festival of Trees!
It's beginning to look a lot like giving! On the first day of giving, Front Street sponsored the 5th Annual Festival of Trees benefiting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. This is an annual event that brings the Gainesville community together to kick off the holiday season with a weekend-long silent auction of decorated trees and wreaths, and other holiday-themed items for purchase held at Tioga Town Center. All proceeds go to the Children's Miracle Network at UF Health Shands Children's Hospital!
For more information about this fantastic organization or to contribute, visit: http://giving.ufhealth.org
On the second day of giving, we participated in LGAA’s Holiday Toy Drive benefiting the Junior League’s Miracle on Main Street!
For the second day of giving, Front Street helped Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association (LGAA) in their Holiday Toy Drive benefiting Junior League’s Miracle on Main Street. Throughout the year, Junior League collects donations of new and gently-used toys, bikes, books, and more. Once the Friends of the Library book sale happens, Junior League uses their warehouse to organize everything; on the first Saturday of December, families arrive with an invitation (provided by local community agencies) and get to go through the warehouse with a personal shopper.
For more information on how you can get involved, please visit: https://www.gainesvillejrleague.org/community/miracle-on-main-street
On the third day of giving, we donated to Plenty of Pit Bulls!
For the third day of giving, Front Street donated to Plenty of Pit Bulls. We also got to hang out with two special (and adorable) pups, Raven and Loki! Plenty of Pit Bulls is an organization that rescues and rehabilitates dogs that are at risk in overcrowded shelters and matches them with a permanent home. It also advocates for pit bulls and works to strengthen the bond between people and dogs.
For more information about this fantastic organization or to contribute, visit: https://popb.org
On the fourth day of giving, we sponsored a brunch for Toys for Tots!
For the fourth day of giving, Front Street sponsored a brunch at Maple Street Biscuit Company in Tioga Town Center for Toys for Tots! Families gathered to enjoy breakfast while gifting toys to deserving children. The Marine Toys for Tots program collects new, unwrapped toys to distribute to less fortunate children to spread hope and holiday cheer.
For more information on how you can get involved, please visit: https://www.toysfortots.org
On the fifth day of giving, we donated toys to Children’s Home Society of Florida and helped decorate their Family Visitation Center!
For the fifth day of giving, Front Street donated toys and art supplies to Children’s Home Society of Florida and helped decorate their Family Visitation Center with A Very Good Deed! A Very Good Deed is an organization that encourages children to give back through creative outlets. Children’s Home Society (CHS) empowers parents to create healthy and nurturing homes for their children. The CHS Family Visitation Center provides children caught in the middle of issues at home with a safe place to meet with parents while rebuilding trust.
For more information about Children’s Home Society or to contribute, visit: https://www.chsfl.org
On the sixth day of giving, we donated to the CHILD Center for Early Learning!
For the sixth day of giving, Front Street partnered with Yvette Godet, D.M.D. and Parent Dental to donate to the CHILD Center for Early Learning! Some of our team members also had the chance to take a tour of the center, which opened in August, and learn more about what it provides for the community. The CHILD Center, founded by the SW Advocacy Group (SWAG), provides early childhood care and education to underserved families in the community. It also acts as a model and demonstration site, providing workshops to early childhood professionals throughout Alachua County.
For more information about the CHILD Center for Early Learning, visit: http://swagchildcenter.org
On the seventh day of giving, we donated toys to Shriners Hospitals for Children!
For the seventh day of giving, Front Street donated toys to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa! Shriners Hospitals for Children is a healthcare system made up of 22 hospitals around the country that are dedicated to improving the lives of children through specialty care, innovative research, and teaching programs. Children up to age 18 with qualifying conditions can receive care in a family-centered environment, regardless of the financial situation.
For more information on how you can get involved, please visit: https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc
On the eighth day of giving, we donated food to Food4Kids!
For the eighth day of giving, Front Street donated food to Food4Kids Backpack Program of North Florida! Food4Kids is an entirely volunteer-run organization that fills backpacks full of food for children to provide them with basic nourishment over the weekend. One out of four children in North Florida live in food-unstable homes, meaning that they don’t have reliable access to food and other important resources, especially over the weekends. During extended breaks from school, children receive larger boxes of food to take home.
For more information about the Food4Kids program, please visit: http://www.food4kidsfl.org
On the ninth day of giving, we donated umbrellas to Interfaith Emergency Services and The Salvation Army!
For the ninth day of giving, Front Street donated umbrellas to Interfaith Emergency Services and The Salvation Army of Ocala! Umbrellas are often overlooked as donation items, yet 100% of both shelters’ clients walk everywhere they travel, making umbrellas a practical item to gift, especially in rainy Florida. Interfaith Emergency Services serves roughly 300,000 clients annually who receive food, clothing, shelter, medications, hygiene items, and much more. The Salvation Army gives back to the community in numerous ways, including (but certainly not limited to) disaster relief, social services, anti-human trafficking, and more.
For more information about Interfaith Emergency Services or to contribute, visit: https://iesmarion.org
For more information about The Salvation Army or to contribute, visit: https://salvationarmyflorida.org
On the tenth day of giving, we donated to All Faiths Food Bank in Sarasota!
For the tenth day of giving, Front Street donated to All Faiths Food Bank in Sarasota! We also got to help distribute food to those in need through their Mobile Farm Market at the Roy McBean Club of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. All Faiths Food Bank is an organization that feeds the hungry in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Food reaches those in need through the food bank’s various programs and member network that includes human services organizations, schools, faith-based and secular organizations, and other groups that serve the community.
For more information about All Faiths Food Banks and how to contribute, please visit: https://www.allfaithsfoodbank.org
On the eleventh day of giving, we donated to the Catholic Charities Weekend Hunger Backpack Program!
For the eleventh day of giving, Front Street donated to the Catholic Charities Weekend Hunger Backpack Program! The Weekend Hunger Backpack Program supplements weekend meals for children who depend on their schools for breakfast and lunch during the week. Volunteers fill backpacks throughout the week to be taken home on Friday that have enough food for the student and their siblings for the weekend. While one out of four children experiences food-insecurity, it costs about $6 on average to feed a child over the weekend; the Weekend Hunger Backpack Program serves over 700 children each weekend through their efforts.
For more information about the Catholic Charities Weekend Hunger Backpack Program, please visit: https://catholiccharitiesgainesville.org/?page_id=441
On the twelfth day of giving, we donated to the Child Advocacy Center and Grace Marketplace!
For the twelfth day of giving, Front Street donated to the Child Advocacy Center and GRACE Marketplace! We donated clothes to the Child Advocacy Center, as well as video games, video game systems, and more thanks to Charity Nerds, an organization that collects and donates these fun items to children in need to help brighten their moods. We donated clothes, personal hygiene products, and blankets to GRACE Marketplace.
The Child Advocacy Center provides a child-friendly, safe, and supportive environment for abused and neglected children. It is a place where professionals work together to coordinate investigations and interventions for each child abuse case, expediting each child’s time in the legal system and ensuring that children are not re-victimized by the system.
GRACE Marketplace’s mission is to end homelessness, which they are doing by providing safe shelter, effective services, and permanent housing solutions for people without any of the typical barriers that keep people from getting help. Since opening in 2014, GRACE Marketplace has helped reduce homelessness in Alachua County by 30%, down to less than 800 people on any given night.
For more information about the Child Advocacy Center and how to contribute, please visit: https://www.childadvocacycentergainesville.org
For more information about GRACE Marketplace and how to contribute, please visit: http://www.gracemarketplace.org
Because 12 days just wasn’t enough…
Bonus Day Part 1: Front Street volunteered with Aces in Motion! Aces in Motion uses tennis to promote character development, academic achievement, and a healthy lifestyle to people of all abilities, with a focus on under-resourced communities.
For more information about Aces in Motion, please visit: https://www.acesinmotion.org
Bonus Day Part 2: Front Street helped cater a Christmas party held at the Lake Baldwin VA Outpatient Clinic for the Mental Health Intensive Case Management program (MHICM). MHICM is a program designed to help veterans who are battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Schizophrenia due to their experience in the military. The goal is to help veterans overcome the challenges of PTSD and Schizophrenia to lead happier and healthier civilian lifestyles.
For more information about the MHICM program, please visit: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/mhr-varecoveryservices.asp