County have their holidays made a bit brighter by the Joy of Giving. Teachers, counselors and an afterschool care program Sports Camp identify children in need. The names and the number of children per family are verified by Misty Nixon, Executive Director of Sports Camp and each family is allotted a dollar amount based on the total funds available for the year and the number of children per family. “Those families are then invited to Wal-Mart on 951 (6650 Collier Boulevard) and are allowed to shop the store for age appropriate gifts, up to thedollar amount they are given,” said Joy of Giving founder, Nikki Davis. “When they leave the store, each family receives a turkey, compliments of Island Country Club. Last year, we helped over 1,100 children in this county due to the generosity of this community.” This is the 23rd year for the Joy of Giving.
Several fundraising events lead up to the Joy of Giving. About 60 motorcycle riders joined the Ride for Joy Poker Run this past Sunday which is organized by Ernie Bordon. The event raised around $8,000 according to Ride for Joy committee members Carmen and Barbara Dasti. Serving on the committee with the Dasti’s are Jeri Jurewicz,Jimmy Downey, Jim Russo and Erik Schilling. “Support from Porky’s is a huge help in this effort,” said Jim Russo. “Every cent pulled in on this event goes directly to the Joy of Giving which in turn goes right to the kids. The $25 registration fee included a free breakfast sponsored by Porky’s. We start at Porky’s, enjoy the breakfast buffet,
Sneaky Pete’s in Bonita, Porky’s in Golden Gate, Stan’s in Goodland and return to Porky’s for an auction in the afternoon. Larry Gordon was the big winner at the auction this year, being the top bidder for several items and Jersey Joe donated what he spent last yearbecause he couldn’t attend,” Jim added, “Bikers are the most charitable demographic there is.” Toni Ison, manager at Porky’s said, “Porky’s is proud to be a part of this. We love doing it knowing it goes to a great cause! We would do it 12 months out of the year if we could.” Chef Jason Fechner said the group went through a case of bacon, 15 dozen eggs, 10 pounds of sausages and almost 100 pancakes before the ride began.
Upcoming Joy of Giving events include Skin Renewal Systems annual Queen for a Day luncheon on December 9th hosted by Island Country Club. First prize winner will receive theQueen for a Day package from Skin Renewal Systems, second and third place prizes are supplied by Chloe’s Boutique and Georgie’s Shoe Resort. All proceeds directly benefit the Joy of Giving.
“This year’s Joy of Giving event will be held at Wal-Mart on December 17th at 6:00 AM,” said Nicki. “We have of goal of $80,000 this year to provide for the children. This couldn’t happen without the support of so many wonderful people: Rotary Clubs, Sports Camp, Kiwanis, teachers, all of these groups help out. Without organizations like Island Country Club, Wal-Mart, Autocraft, Skin Renewal Systems, Porky’s, it wouldn’t be possible. There are too many to name them all, but they know who they are!”