It’s that time of year when Nicki Davis has sleepless nights.
From now until Dec. 11 she and volunteers hope to raise about $75,000 to provide parents of underprivileged children a way to have a special family Christmas.
Some 1,1000 children, of about 400 families, will arrive around 6 a.m. on Dec. 11 at Wal-Mart to purchase gifts with the money raised by the Joy of Giving organization.
It will be a culmination of Davis’ sleepless night, especially since she has just $3,000 now.
“There is a fear factor to this project as I get the list of children before I get the money,” she said. “Honestly, I think I’m just a go-between heaven and earth, used to make this day happen.” Davis said that 100 percent of the donations reach the families.
In the end, families from 30 schools come to Wal-Mart.
Before then, Misty Nixon, a member of the Joy of Giving Board, has organized a list of qualified children.
On Dec. 11 the 30 schools, represented by an administrative person or teacher, checks in the families. Once the children have chosen their gifts they go to a scanning table where the gifts are checked to make sure the money is used appropriately. When approved they then go to check out.
“The family never gets money, they get a a card based on the number of children for their spending limit,” Davis said. “We keep all the receipts and make exchanges if necessary.”
On Dec. 11 there will be more than 100 volunteers, including an army of Island Country Club members. The club’s foundation provides about half of the money each year, plus giving out some 400 turkeys to the families involved. The foundation has been a major part of Joy of Giving for 10 years.
“The Joy Of giving would not be what it is today without the support from such generous members of the Island Country Club,” Davis said. I am honored to know some of these wonderful, successful human beings, just being humble. They show me what true success is.”
The Island Country Club members represent half of the donations collected each year, together with turkeys for Christmas, which they personally hand out to each family at the event.”
Wes Blackwell, chairman of the Island Country Club Charitable Foundation, laughed when asked if his foundation was the gift that keeps on giving.
“There are so many kids that won’t have a Christmas unless we get involved,” he said. “Even more now with the way the economy is.”
Blackwell invites the public to come see what goes on the day of giving occurs.
“Come and watch what happens,” he invited. “It is amazing how many families come out with clothes, shoes, then toys. When you see the joy in their faces, so grateful for what they get. What we and others do goes a long way in helping these folks.”
To make a donation, make checks payable to the Joy of Giving, % Nicki Davis, 317 Nassau Court, Marco Island, FL 34145.