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Spirit of Christmas benefit takes place Tuesday -- free and open to the public

December 2, 2013
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Already helping 3,000 local children and their guardians in need have a Christmas they otherwise wouldn't have been able to celebrate, seasonal residents and Canadian angels Jim and Sharon Jamieson (currently celebrating their 50-year wedding anniversary) are back in town, raising funds for another several hundred local children this year, hosting the annual Spirit of Christmas benefit fundraiser, Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 10 p.m., at the American Legion on Buttonwood Drive.

That evening, enjoy live music from DAZ?and friends, along with a full meal supplied by the Legion: smothered chicken or smothered porkchops with all the trimmings for just $7.

"The event is open and free to the public, so come one, come all! This year, we hope to help another 250 to 300 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've helped about 1,800 families and 2,500 children. Every item donated to our benefit's raffle and silent auctions helps in giving to more local families that year."

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Jim and Sharon Jamieson, along with new angels Oscar and Lisa, 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. 3, from 5 to 10 p.m., at the American Legion Post 274 on Buttonwood Drive. The benefit is open to the public and will raise funds to disperse to the selected families who otherwise couldn’t afford to have a Christmas. The American Legion benefit is open to the public and free to attend, so come one, come all! Photo courtesy JIM JAMIESON

Everything has been coming along well for the benefit, there is no cost to attend, and all who make it receive a free entry to a very special door prize raffle.

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 stays at gorgeous island resorts (including the Wyndham Garden Fort Myers Beach (formerly the Holiday Inn), Pink Shell, DiamondHead, Gull Wing, The Harbor House and Matanzas), family fun adventures, golf packages, gift certificates to some great local restaurants, thousands and thousands of dollars worth of items available so many lovely, lovely prizes, all donated by such gracious businesses within our island community."

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Four main drawings will take place that evening: a 50/50 raffle; a large wagon full of spirits, valued at more than $200; a restaurant tree filled with more than $500 worth of restaurant gift certificates; and a 30-second trip inside the Money Chamber, where you grab as much cash as you can in that amount of time.

"Last year, the girl grabbed about $150," Jim said. "We just might offer two 30-second trips in the machine this year!"

"The merchants are kind enough to give us a gift. The gift goes on the silent auction table at a more than fair price, so whoever bids on it gets a bargain, and then all of that money goes to support the children's Christmas shopping. It's a win/win situation, and it's all thanks to our many wonderful merchants for donating prizes," Jim said.

He is sure to thank another entity for all they do.

"The American Legion only gets a few open permits to the public every year, and it's so nice that they've chosen the Spirit of Christmas Foundation for one of those permits. Thank you to them and to the Sons of the American Legion, for always standing by our side and supporting our cause."

Again, this is an event that is open to the public, and there is no cost to attend.

"Bottom line, please come and help us, support us, have fun, get a warm and fuzzy feeling when you go home knowing you've done some good, helping our local kids in need, and have a nice time."

About the Spirit of Christmas Foundation

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, and couldn't have been as successful without the intense help from local residents and businesses, all coming together to raise funds to donate to hand-selected needy families of Fort Myers Beach and nearby areas.

"We work hard to pre-qualify that the family is truly in need of help. Sharon works diligently to find local families genuinely in need," Jim said. "Everything that is donated goes directly to the foundation. There are no overhead costs, no corporate costs or administration fees. All of the money goes to helping the children and their families."

The Spirit of Christmas recently added two new angels to the team: Oscar, a wounded and decorated Desert Storm veteran, and Lisa.

"Oscar and Lisa became involved with our foundation last year and we're so happy they've stayed on the mission to help these kids with us," Jim said. "They've been a great relief, visiting more businesses and helping to bring in even more support for our cause."

Having nothing but each other around the holidays hits a soft spot on Jim's heart, as he and his family know what it's like.

"I've been there. I know what it's like to be on the bottom end, and I've had enough blessings to know what's on the upper side. Even going through my own illnesses, not sure if I'll be able to continue the foundation, I'd meet more families in need, and I?just couldn't stop helping," he said. "I'd get a tap on the shoulder; He doesn't want me to let go. Many of these families have had their world cave in, losing their home, car even their dignity. Knowing what it's like to be where they are, we do what we can to help others in the same situation, and we want to continue helping local families as long as we can."

Jim is sure to thank the many local philanthropists, who, year after year, make more than significant donations to the cause.

"We are so thankful for our local philanthropists who support our cause throughout the year, including the Sons of the American Legion Post 274, the Auxiliary Post 274, the American Legion Post 274, Chris and Joni Hall of Luxury Home Solutions and the Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Ehlars, and John and Sandy Solar.

"Thank you all, for your generous support and contributions."

For more information, or to make a donation for the benefit or its foundation, or a contribution to the cause, visit, or call Jim Jamieson, 940-4236, or Sharon Jamieson, 463-2717.



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