Every year, we’re excited about sharing holiday hope. We search for just the right gifts for friends and loved ones. We plan parties to throw and attend. We prepare our traditional meal favorites, or research new recipes. And we look forward to boat parades and street parades, holiday festivals, and holiday mixers.
Sharing Holiday Hope with our Neighbors
We also look for ways to brighten the holidays for our neighbors who face the season with diminished means.
“Holiday Hope” is our program to help two local charities dedicated to reaching our neighbors in need.
The Christmas Toy Shop Project
We’re collecting toys for children of all ages to be distributed through The Christmas Toy Shop Project. This is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that provides new and gently used, refurbished toys to less fortunate children in Pinellas County.
Women With Purpose
We’re also collecting gifts, non-perishable food items, and personal care products for Women With Purpose. This all-volunteer, non-profit organization helps families touched by cancer. It offers financial support for non-medical essentials like groceries, children’s clothing and school supplies, transportation, even housing payments.
How Sharing Holiday Hope Happened
“We learned about The Christmas Toy Shop project through our member The Club at Treasure Island,” says Chamber Event Coordinator Jill Foraker. “The Club stages a watch party for the Treasure Island Boat Parade, scheduled this year on the evening of Friday, December 14. To encourage people to support The Christmas Toy Shop, The Club gave us tickets to the watch party for anyone dropping off an unwrapped toy by 4 p.m. on December 14.”
Chamber Ambassador Kelly McLaughlin provided the impetus for the drive to help Women With Purpose. A long-time volunteer for the organization, Kelly let us know that the families helped by Women With Purpose appreciate the generosity of our community.
“Cancer attacks families at every level,” notes Women With Purpose founder Jane Morse-Swett “There’s the physical toll of fighting the disease with radiation, chemo, and doctors’ visits. But there’s also the financial loss from missed work, and the need to keep a family going during the battle. Cancer is emotionally draining, too, and it affects every member of the family.”
Something as simple as a gift basket with toiletries, or a donation of canned goods to help build a nutritious meal, goes a long way toward lifting spirits.
“Partnering with our members, sharing holiday hope, is simply the right thing to do,” concludes Chamber president Missy H. Hahn. “We are fortunate to have members who are so willing to offer help where it is needed, and who help make sure the holidays are brighter for area families.”
NOTE: The Chamber MOVED on Friday, November 30. Please take donations to our NEW location at 12601 Gulf Blvd., just south of the John’s Pass bridge.