Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Email insights: HandsOn Jax brings holiday cheer to local schoolchildren

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Volunteer work may be a year-round calling, but it’s the holiday season when most Floridians are aware of others in need.

That’s why Volunteer Florida, the Governor’s lead agency for service and volunteerism statewide, promotes the theme of holiday service for the month of December.

In a new email to supporters, Volunteer Florida highlights one holiday-themed program, the award-winning “A Visit from St. Nicholas” from HandsOn Jacksonville.

“Visit,” now in its 13th year, is a program to provide backpacks and school supplies to local students in need. Volunteers deliver the bags – filled with books, toys and personal items – to each student’s desk the night before “Discovery Day,” held Dec. 4 this year.

During Discovery Day, volunteers read to the students, with a special appearance by St. Nicholas.

The annual program serves approximately 7,500 elementary school children in 14 challenged schools throughout Duval, St. Johns, Baker and Clay counties. For some children, it will be the only gift they receive for Christmas, as well as the first book they have ever owned.

“This spirit of service is one of the things that make the holiday season shine even brighter in Florida,” the email says. “Thank you, HandsOn Jacksonville, for all that you do to #ServeFL. “

Florida rarely experiences the trappings of a “traditional” Christmas – cold weather and snow in particular – but with programs like “Visit,” there is never a shortage of good holiday cheer.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

Latest from Apolitical

Go to Top