Local agencies, businesses make holidays merry for others

Local agencies, businesses make holidays merry for others
Elana Clayman and Dr. Loren Clayman, center, with staff members of Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery Center and Miracle Spa at the Early Learning Center administered by Episcopal Children’s Services at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.

From the very youngest who need a head start and a helping hand to seniors who may face the holidays alone, local businesses and agencies did their part to make the holidays brighter for those who are often forgotten.

John Phillips with Courtney Weatherby-Hunter

John Phillips with Courtney Weatherby-Hunter

The children at the Early Learning Center at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Riverside were delighted by a special story time Dec. 13, thanks to the staff at Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery Center and Miracle Spa.

The story, written and narrated by Elana Clayman, included animated props. After much prompting by the children, Santa, played by Dr. Loren Clayman, made his appearance in time to distribute toy animals.

Also on Dec. 13, members of the Jacksonville Bar Association and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office met at the JBA’s office in the Wells Fargo building downtown to pick up wrapped gifts to be distributed to area seniors, continuing a tradition that is 25 years old.

In partnership with Aging True, which provides a list of seniors and their wish lists, local lawyers and police officers purchase, wrap and personally deliver the gifts to over 422 seniors.

“We really appreciate the Sheriff’s Office working with us. There’s an over 50 percent increase in the number of gifts from last year,” said Tad Delegal, president of the Jacksonville Bar Association.

Kimberly Jones, the chair of this year’s Senior Holiday Event, had worked on the committee since 2011 while in law school. “A professor introduced it to us as a good project and, because I can’t be with my own grandmother during the holidays, I wanted to be able to do something for other seniors,” said Jones, who works for Baumann, Gant & Keeley.

For the sixth year in a row, the Law Firm of John M. Phillips brought a “Winter Wonderland” to Ortega, with over 24 tons of snow shaped into a slide and play area, as well as falling “snow.”

In a departure from the previous five years when the toy drive recipient was Toys for Tots, this year’s event, held Dec. 15, benefited Children’s Home of Society of Florida as well as local children who lost so much as a result of Hurricane Irma.

Members of the Jacksonville Bar Association and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office with gifts for local seniors. From left, Charles Smith, Kimberly Jones, project chair, Lt. Travis Cox, Officer L.E. Cook, Zach Levenhagen, Sgt. Ken Lamb, the Honorable Eleni Derke (kneeling), the Honorable Roberto Arias, Katie Dearing, JBA president-elect, Tad Delegal, JBA president, and Sheriff Mike Williams.

Members of the Jacksonville Bar Association and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office with gifts for local seniors. From left, Charles Smith, Kimberly Jones, project chair, Lt. Travis Cox, Officer L.E. Cook, Zach Levenhagen, Sgt. Ken Lamb, the Honorable Eleni Derke (kneeling), the Honorable Roberto Arias, Katie Dearing, JBA president-elect, Tad Delegal, JBA president, and Sheriff Mike Williams.

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