For many state employees in Florida, Christmas is about giving, not just to friends, family, and co-workers, but also total strangers who struggle during the holiday season.
Generous employees in a variety of Florida Department of Environmental Protection departments are making the season brighter for more than 115 needy children this year through a series of gift-giving campaigns.
“These donations demonstrate that our employees are not only committed to the work they do, but also to making the communities they live in a better place,” said DEP interim Secretary Cliff Wilson. “I am proud to work alongside such generous people.”
Individual division and district offices have banded together to spread holiday cheer by way of charity groups:
Florida’s DEP Coastal Office, Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration and Division of State Lands each adopted a family in need with Christmas Connection – a charity that exclusively serves Northern Florida.
In fulfilling the wishes of Big Bend families, Christmas Connection goes beyond just holiday toys and gifts. They donate other essential items to make life easier. For example, this year one of the adopted families received a washer and dryer, contributed by Florida Coastal Office employees.
In Tampa, the DEP Southwest District office sponsored 83 children as part of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association Childcare Center. District employees distributed the gifts to children last week – complete with an appearance by Santa.
Office of Operations and Division of State Lands staff collaborated with the Salvation Army for its Angel Tree program, providing gifts for 22 children.
Jacksonville’s Northeast District collected more than 50 toys for Dreams Come True, a local First Coast nonprofit dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of children, ages 2½ to 18 years, facing life-threatening illnesses.
As part of its annual toy drive, the Division of Waste Management, which regulates permitting and compliance assistance, collected more than 100 toys for Toys for Tots.
Contributions from the Fort Myers South District staff members and their families went to “Shoebox Ministry,” which collects school supplies and other gifts, for shipment overseas through the Samaritan’s Purse project.