We’ve hit that point in the year where most people are getting into the holiday mindset. I personally believe that this season can bring out the best in everyone and that people are able to do good in their community if they have options in front of them. So here we are, some awesome beachside organizations that you can get involved with.
Beaches Go Green provides awareness & education around single-use plastic pollution, “Recycling Right”, and creating less waste overall. They aim to simplify complex environmental issues so that everyone can make sense of them and make changes in their own lives for the better of the planet. Beaches Go Green partners with several local events to make them more environmentally friendly by encouraging use of reusable items, decreasing single-use items and enabling event day recycling. They host an educational Movies that Matter series, by working with local cities and local businesses on a Recycle Right education plan.
BEAM is a 501c3 organization serving low income families in Jacksonville’s beach communities where they envision a future of no beaches residents going hungry. They offer two ongoing food pantries in Jacksonville Beach and Mayport, along with seasonal events such as the Back to School event that is always a huge success and Thanksgiving food collections for families in need. Partial funding for the 600k+ meals that are distributed annually comes from the BEAM thrift store where you can donate year round. Whether you’d like to help a family out for thanksgiving, volunteer to work the pantry, or simply donate to the thrift store, BEAM is a great way to help Beaches residents. Their website has a wealth of information on how to get involved.
One really impactful way you can teach your kids to be good neighbors is by donating to this awesome organization that reaches children in schools that are in need of food when they are at home on the weekends and may otherwise go without. While most kids are looking forward to the weekend, over 13 million kids won’t have enough food to eat this weekend and cannot wait to get back to school where they can eat free breakfast and lunch. Contact your local school or ask your local school’s PTA for more information. Many elementary schools in the Jacksonville Beach area participate in this program.
As a part of the Jacksonville Beach Parks and Recreation department, the Carver Center serves children and families in the Pablo Beach community. It is a recreation center offering a variety of activities including after school tutoring almost every weekday. If you’d like to put your time and talents to good use, consider volunteering to tutor children or help out with some of their sports initiatives.
Another awesome organization right here at the Beach working to help the homeless is Mission House. It is the only day facility to help meet the needs of the homeless adults at the Beaches through compassion, faith, and programs designed to provide assistance at an individual level. They address basic needs through meal, shower, case management, and medical programs. Mission house has an unbelievable variety of volunteer and donation opportunities throughout the year, including companion volunteers that sit and simply talk with the clients when they come for meals, or drivers to pick up food donations. Go to their website to see all the ways that you can help and which area you might want to get involved in.
Founded by Jacksonville Beach residents, Lisa and Jeff Amato in memory of their daughter Kate, this local non-profit is dedicated to finding safer, smarter and more effective treatments for children with cancer. Our mission is to fund innovative pediatric cancer research that accelerates the pace of progress and saves young lives. You can donate directly to them or support the cause by attending one of their local events.
What I love about FCWS is the fact that they take time to encourage and educate women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant and don’t have any idea where to go or what to do. Not every pregnancy is planned, and therefore some women are unprepared when families disown them and they find themselves staring down motherhood alone. My favorite thing to donate here is maternity clothing, diapers, and baby items. I recommend calling ahead to let them know you are dropping things off to be sure they are ready since they run a much smaller operation than say Goodwill or BEAM.
Ashley Davis is a wife and mother, a writer and lover of words. She’s a Jacksonville native and currently resides in Jacksonville Beach with her husband and two little ones. Ashley believes that investing in the moments where we experience new places, cultures, and things is what makes life a most enjoyable adventure! Follow her on Instagram @ashleyndavis or through her website at www.ashleyndavis.com.