The 2016 Joy of Giving shopping event was a huge success. Nicki Davis works with Misty Sayah creating a “list and checking it twice.” They speak with teachers, camp counselors and coaches to gather names of children who might be able to use a bit of help over Christmas.
These families are invited to a shopping event at Walmart on 6650 Collier Boulevard where Joy of Giving volunteers, along with Walmart Manager Bob Galloway and his staff greet them. “By 5:30 AM, there is a line the length of the building,” said Nicki. “Each family is given a dollar amount to spend on age appropriate toys or clothes for the children in the family. The Joy of Giving is a 501(c)3 charity and 100 percent of funds raised are given away.”
It has been 28 years since the Joy of Giving began. It all started with Nicki Davis who had moved to the United States, and was missing family and friendsback home across the Atlantic. Nicki decided helping out a family in need would be a good way to fill the void. It left such an impact on her, she began a yearly tradition which is now known as the “Joy of Giving.” Nicki could never have imagined it would grow into the charity it is today. Since it began 28 years ago, Nicki and her “elves” have provided this Christmas experience to thousands of families. The goal is to have the joy of shopping for your own family while keeping the dignity and privacy of the family.
Those among the “elf” status include the Island Country Club Charitable Foundation (ICCCF). Not only do they raise a major portion of the funds for the Joy of Giving shopping event annually, they staff the registers to help check out the families. When the families get back in the parking lot, ICCCF is there with a truckload of frozen turkeys.
There are other elves, too! Ernie Bordenorganizes a motorcycle poker run each year to support the Joy of Giving. The event started and ended at The SpeakEasy where a buffet and auction were waiting for the riders. This event raised $14,000.00 for the nonprofit charity.
Not to be left out, elves at the Community Association Managers of Marco Island (CAMMI) donated $3,000.00 to the Joy of Giving. By the time their holiday party ended this year, that total was up to $4,700.00.
Those are just a few of the special elves who work year- round to support the Joy of Giving. None of these smiles or twinkling eyes could happen without elfin support! The charity also has the Noontime Rotary Club and the Sunrise Rotary Club, Phil Penzo of Marco Office Supply and Coldwell Banker are just a few of the businesses. Plus, dozens of individuals assist the Joy of Giving each year. We receive donations from many individuals and each is important in making this effort work! “Without everyone, it wouldn’t be possible to make all these children happy!” said Nicki Davis.