| Florida Times-Union
Family Promise of Jacksonville, which received 2,750 pairs of socks from Bombas Socks, valued at $33,000, recently shared 1,750 pairs with four partner agencies.
“We want the socks to be out in the community, on people’s feet and not sitting in a storeroom,” said Beth Mixson, development director for Family Promise of Jacksonville, “When your feet are warm and dry, you feel better.”
Bombas Socks donated 50,000 pairs of socks to 25 Family Promise affiliates across the nation. For every sock purchased, Bombas Socks donates a pair.
The agencies at Thursday’s giveaway serve a cross-section of the community. Catholic Charities Workforce Development will provide the socks to Workforce Development participants as well as people using other Catholic Charities programs. Changing Homelessness will include one pair in the 500 hygiene packets distributed during the annual Point In Time Count. The Giving Closet Project will provide them to Duval County Public Schools students in need. And UCom Jacksonville will provide them to elderly people receiving Meals on Wheels and individuals experiencing homelessness.
Family Promise of Jacksonville is a nonprofit whose goal is helping families experiencing homelessness to return to stability.
Here’s more good news:
• The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) volunteers and staff have remained on the front lines of the pandemic serving families and workers in Jacksonville’s Beaches area communities who have been hard-hit by the economic impact of COVID-19.
Since eviction and utility moratoriums were lifted, the nonprofit has seen a significant influx of new clients in need of emergency rent and utility assistance to avoid homelessness and electricity shut-offs, officials there said.
Last year the organization provided assistance to 1,004 households. From COVID-19 related layoffs and disruptions alone, BEAM has assisted about 1,100 households with emergency financial needs from April to August, a 300 percent increase over the same months last year.
In May, BEAM organized the Keep Their Homes Campaign, raising about $100,000 to meet the increased demand in rent and utility requests although designated funds are now depleted, organizers said. The Jim Moran Foundation has partnered with BEAM to provide an additional COVID-19 relief dollar-for-dollar challenge grant up to $25,000 to continue to meet the unprecedented demand for emergency financial assistance among beaches area families and workers.
• Local athletes with Special Olympics Florida recently joined Timucuan Parks Foundation for a day of outdoor fun at the Timucuan Preserve. Eleven teens from North Florida School of Special Education participated in kayaking, swimming and fishing.
The August event marked the partial resumption of outdoor programming for the foundation, which modified the day’s activities to follow the COVID-19 spatial-distancing guidelines.
“We were excited this summer to be able to bring this group of young people and their coaches and mentors out to the Timucuan Preserve for an enjoyable day of physical activity and learning outdoors,” said Felicia Boyd, foundation outreach and program director. “We had a number of TPF volunteers, a biologist with the city of Jacksonville, and our partners from Kayak Amelia who all helped to create a fun and safe day for the kids.”
Guides from Kayak Amelia led the group from the Alimacani boat ramp across the Fort George River. The group stopped at a sandy beach at the Timucuan Preserve, where they enjoyed some time swimming and seine netting for small fish and jellyfish. They also enjoyed the much-loved chocolate chip cookies that Kayak Amelia provides for its guests.
Timucuan Parks Foundation programs are designed to provide education, recreation, and stewardship opportunities to diverse populations of youth who might not otherwise have access to Jacksonville’s national, state and city preservation park sites.
“Our students who participate in Special Olympics activities thrive in large part because of the friendships and team camaraderie they find practicing and training as a group,” said Sally Hazelip, head of school at North Florida School of Special Education. “This adventure at the Timucuan Preserve enabled our students to experience that same fun and team-building experience in a time that many of their traditional sports practices can’t take place.”
• Three students from the Jacksonville area are among the top 300 middle school scientists in the country. Alvaro Herrero-Paylos of Saint Paul’s Catholic School and Kylie Jadyn White and Lily Elizabeth Pierce of Fruit Cove Middle School, have been named to a list of the Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS — the nation’s premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Math competition for middle school students.
The winners were selected from 3,476 applicants from 42 states and Puerto Rico, organizers said. Science fairs across the country had to cancel their competitions in the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In reaction to the move, Broadcom Foundation and the Society for Science & The Public opened up the competition to any student who registered to compete in a Society-affiliated science fair.
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