JaxTHRIVE helps needy First Coast families during the holiday season


JaxTHRIVE, a volunteer, nonprofit organization with a mission to educate and inspire refugee and low-income children, coordinated an initiative over the holidays to deliver customized baskets to needy families all over the First Coast.

JaxTHRIVE encouraged teen volunteers to create the baskets for 54 families from St. Augustine to Jacksonville. They partnered with the Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition of St. Johns County Inc., Jewish Family Community Services, Kim’s Open Door and JaxTHRIVE’s current student base to identify the families for this initiative.

In addition to holiday baskets, masks donated from Masks4JAX (https://masks4jax.com) and feminine hygiene products (from the Ponte Vedra High GenWOWClub and Renewing Dignity, www.renewingdignity.org) were also delivered to the families.

A few JaxTHRIVE volunteers personally delivered their baskets so they could finally meet the students they have been tutoring since COVID-19 forced JaxTHRIVE to move its tutoring online.

 JaxTHRIVE volunteer Aaron Shumer, 17, appreciated this experience.

“I really enjoyed meeting Patrick in person and learning about the culture of his family,” Aaron said. “The family welcomed me into their home and provided me with a look into their everyday life. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in JaxTHRIVE and getting to know Patrick’s family.”

Volunteer Melissa Marino, 15, said, “I felt good planning a Christmas surprise for a little boy. Even though I didn’t know him, it felt like I was shopping for a family member.”

JaxTHRIVE recently created a GoFundMe account to raise funds so it can continue its tutoring endeavors. To learn more about JaxTHRIVE or to donate to the campaign, go to https://www.jaxthrive.net.


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