Bright Holidays announced today that Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard will again serve as Honorary Chair of this year's fundraising campaign.
"I'm very honored to partner with Bright Holidays again this year to ensure that families and children in need have a special holiday," said Garrard. "So many of these families are in need of the basics, like food, clothing and school supplies for their children, and I hope that the First Coast community will join me in supporting this great organization."
Unlike other charities and foundations, Bright Holidays operates on a seasonal basis, relies solely on volunteer efforts and operates with no fixed expenses.
Sylvia Johnson, principal of Eugene J. Butler Middle, inspired the concept and John Forrester, a local business executive, founded the organization in 2003. Inaugural efforts, before the establishment of any organization or certification by the IRS, raised approximately $15,000, which benefited nearly 200 elementary school students and their families. This year, Bright Holidays has a goal of raising $50,000 to provide necessities for nearly 500 children and their families. Garrard will surprise families during the distribution period by personally delivering their gifts to their homes.
Today, Bright Holidays has a strong Board of Directors comprised of local business leaders and educators. In addition, Bright Holidays has recruited volunteer workers and enjoys relationships with local professional firms to provide pro bono accounting, communications, legal and technology services. As a result of its volunteer Board and these relationships, Bright Holidays requires no operating capital and can use 100% of monies raised to help those in need of assistance.
Bright Holidays raises funds locally and works with school principals in the community to identify those in need of clothing, food, school supplies and other necessities.
Over the course of the fall semester, faculty members determine who is in need of assistance. Each school compiles a list of students and, upon approval by the school principal, submits its list to Bright Holidays. Volunteers then shop, wrap and distribute the items to each family in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Garrard's participation in Bright Holidays is part of his Hope for the Holidays program, which began in 2007. He recognized that many families in North Florida are in need of everyday household items, including food, clothing, infant supplies and cleaning products. What began as a purchase of enough food for a Thanksgiving dinner has turned into a purchase of additional household goods to help families get through the holiday season.
For additional information on Bright Holidays, its partner schools and the children it serves, please visit www.brightholidays.org