Two Canadian angels have recently returned to the island of Fort Myers Beach to help put smiles on thousands of children's faces this holiday, for those who otherwise wouldn't have much to smile about this season.
Jim and Sharon Jamieson have been operating their local 501-C3 Spirit of Christmas Foundation for nearly a decade, offering hundreds of local families in need a Christmas miracle, year in and year out.
Every year, to raise funds to help these families, the duo hosts a big benefit at our local American Legion on Buttonwood Drive. This year, the benefit will be held Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 10 p.m., featuring live music, hundreds of raffle and door prizes, delicious food, silent auctions, 50/50s and plenty of holiday cheer.
Jim and Sharon Jamieson have been working hard for their Spirit of Christmas Foundation, finding desperate local families in need, and organizing the annual Sprit of Christmas fund-raiser, taking place Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the American Legion. The benefit is open to the public and will allow those selected families to have a Christmas they otherwise couldn’t afford. The American Legion benefit is open to the public, so come one, come all! Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.
The two-angel-team is currently seeking donations for the benefit, either in the form of gifts for the silent auctions and raffle prizes, or monetary contributions for the Spirit of Christmas cause.
"This year, we hope to help 350 children," Jim said. "Sharon is working feverishly every day to find local families in need. We always help new families, every year. In the nearly 10 years we've run the Spirit of Christmas Foundation, we have helped about 1,500 families and 2,000 children. Every item donated to our benefit's raffle and silent auctions help in giving to more local families that year."
Jim said the community support of the Spirit of Christmas' upcoming benefit has been phenomenal so far.
"We've been given some beautiful prizes so far, including hotel space from the Holiday Inn, Pink Shell, DiamondHead, Gull Wing, The Harbor House and Matanzas," he said. "We received some beautiful golf course reservations for four to play at numerous golf courses, dining gift certificates, we'll have a Christmas tree with over $500 worth of gift certificates on it, we'll have a wine wagon with more than 40 bottles of wine in it, a 50/50 drawing that was pretty substantial last year, and several other lovely, lovely prizes, all donated by such gracious businesses within our island community."
For more information, or to make a donation for the benefit, or a contribution to the cause, visit SpiritOfChristmasInc.com, or call Jim Jamieson, 940-4236, or Sharon Jamieson, 463-2717.
About the Spirit of
This year, the benefit will be held Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 10 p.m., featuring live music, hundreds of raffle and door prizes, delicious food, silent auctions, 50/50s and plenty of holiday cheer.
Since becoming the Spirit of Christmas Foundation, the couple, with intense help from local residents and businesses, raises funds to donate to hand-selected needy families of Fort Myers Beach and nearby areas.
"We take our chosen families on a shopping spree at a Super WalMart store, so they can purchase what they need to make their Christmas a good one," Jim said. "The wonderful supporters of the Spirit of Christmas can feel very proud that their donations have helped about 1,000 families and 2,500 children over the years children that otherwise would not have had a Christmas that year."
Sharon works hard to find the special families that need help: families that are struggling with cancer and other illnesses that can drain their funds just to keep a family member alive; military veterans who can't afford to provide their children a holiday because of medical problems; and so many other pitfalls.
"Many of these families have had their world cave in, losing their home, car even their dignity," Jim said. "It is a very exhausting job, finding the ones that really, desperately need our help and sometimes seems to be an endless project too large to handle. But then we get a tap on the shoulder, and we somehow find the energy once again to continue. The phone rings or the postman delivers a welcome donation, or someone comes forward to offer help. We think of them as Christmas angels."
The Jamiesons are sure to thank the Sons of the American Legion, The American Legion Post 274 and the members of the Auxillary, Chris and Joni Hall of Luxury Home Solutions and Family Foundation, The Outrigger Hotel, Smokin' Oyster Brewery, WalMart, Gloria and Ernest Lee, John and Sandy Solar, Rocky Steimle and the many other friends and contributors of the Spirit of Christmas organization.
"Without them, none of this would be possible."
Funds are also raised during the benefit to donate Christmas trees, wreaths and other holiday ornaments for the needy families for this occasion.
"We have really been narrowing in to where we do the most help to those very unfortunate families who would otherwise not be able to celebrate Christmas," Jim said.
As this is a 501-c3 foundation, all donations made to the charity are tax-deductible.
There is no charge to enter the benefit, although a donation of canned goods for the needy would be grateful and all who enter have the chance to win some fabulous door prizes. Again, this is a fund-raiser open to the public.
For more information, contact Jim and Sharon by calling 463-2717, 940-4236, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting SpiritOfChristmasInc.com.