Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Spreading the Joy

If success could be measured by smiles, the 31st annual Joy of Giving event held Saturday atWalmart was an epic success. Walmart’s manager, Bob Galeana gathered the employees who volunteer their time and he gave them an energizing pep talk. The Joy of Giving organizer, NickiDavis, armed her bevy of volunteer elves with calculators, price scanners and signs. Santa andMrs. Claus came by to visit with the children. Extra help was stationed at the toy and bicycle aisles. Within 5 hours, the families of 1,260 children received presents they wouldn’t have gotten this holiday season otherwise.

“It takes a year’s worth of fundraising, identifying where the need lies most and reaching out to in form families of the Joy of Giving event. Every year, a few special cases present themselves as well. In 2019, we had a family struck by a terminal illnes. Another lost everything in a fire and another young mother is new to shelter living. These are the cases that pull at your heart strings. Many of our volunteers have joined us for 10, 15 or 20+ years or more. Helping these families is so rewarding that it keeps volunteers and supporters coming back.”

“Each family is given a card with a dollar amount upon check-in. The parents come to Walmart on the given day and they get to shop for age appropriate gifts. Money does not exchange hands with the families.” Nicki said, “Every cent goes to the children. This year’s event was over $120,000.00.

“The process works smoothly. “There are so many people who make this happen, I am afraid I will leave someone out if I try to name them all. Thank you! You’re appreciated so much!Island Country Club is our biggest supporter, the Noontime Rotary Club, Marco Office Supply and to the many businesses and individuals who donate quietly. Thank you!”

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