Nassau County, Florida, April 12, 2021. In celebration of Earth Day the St Marys Riverkeeper and Keep Nassau Beautiful are sponsoring a cleanup of the St Marys River and surrounding waterways on Saturday April 24, 9am - 11am.
The St Marys River is 130 miles long, winding through four counties in two states. More than 60,000 residents depend on the health of the river for tourism, recreation, commercial fishing, and safe drinking water. Wildlife and plant ecosystems rely on the continued cleanliness of the watershed, including 3,000 miles of streams and tributaries.
Because of the pandemic, it has been two years since our last cleanup, and we need your help. Site Captains will be available to distribute supplies at twelve Nassau County sites. Supplies include disposable gloves, personal cloth logo masks, and trash bags. Hand sanitizer will be available. Volunteers should consider wearing long pants and closed-toe shoes and bringing their own gloves, sunscreen, bug spray, and a reusable water bottle. All CDC recommended Covid safety practices will be implemented. Volunteers for the river clean up event will receive free standard 2021 St. Marys Riverkeeper membership.
To ensure an adequate number of supplies, volunteers should pre-register: https://keepnassaubeautiful.org/news-and-events/
For more information KNB@KeepNassauBeautiful.org or 904-261-0165.
Keep Nassau Beautiful, Inc. is working to inspire, educate, and equip individuals, groups, businesses and governments to take action to make Nassau County a place where residents, visitors and wildlife can thrive and experience the beauty of Nassau County. www.keepnassaubeautiful.org
The St. Marys Riverkeeper (SMRK) is a nonprofit environmental organization devoted to protecting and enriching the St. Marys River watershed through water quality monitoring, education and advocacy. www.stmarysriverkeeper.org
Barnabas Center Nassau
Submitted by Alexandra Winsor
April 7, 2021
Now more than ever, it is a perfect time to celebrate people helping people who are in need! April is National Volunteer Month, which highlights the contributions of volunteers and encourages people to donate their time to a local, national, or global cause. Accordingly, Barnabas is celebrating Pastor Brian Winburn, who is the perfect example of how even one volunteer can make a significant impact in his community.
Two years ago, Pastor Winburn moved to Nassau County to serve at Springhill Baptist Church. Many years before this, church members formed a team to create a solution to reach people experiencing hunger in the community. The church’s Community Meals program began feeding hundreds of people per month. Then the pandemic impacted their program, increasing the need for food.
“At our Community Meals events, we were helping people from all walks of life,” said Pastor Winburn. “We knew we needed to reach even more people, especially when COVID-19 hit. People were having trouble paying bills and buying food. When we called Renee Stoffel, Barnabas Community Outreach Manager, to inquire about a potential partnership, she immediately said, ‘I’m coming to you. Let’s start a food distribution.’ We knew we’d soon be able to help more people in need.”
Every month, 20-30 new people come to the Barnabas food distributions held at the church.
“I get so much joy out of serving. Seeing my church family helping neighbors in need at our food events makes my heart full of appreciation. At every distribution, I talk to people who tell me how rough life has been,” said Pastor Winburn. “We need to come together and give these people hope. We must continue to show them that Barnabas, Springhill Baptist Church, and Nassau County care about them."
Barnabas is grateful to its many volunteers who generously donate their time and talents to improving our community. Last year, more than 400 active volunteers contributed over 15,000 hours of service to help individuals and families through Barnabas programs that include a food pantry and mobile food distributions, crisis assistance, medical and dental services, and the New to You resale store.
For information about Barnabas’ volunteer program, contact Kim Cherry, Barnabas Volunteer Coordinator at (904) 261-7000 ext. 118 OR firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Barnabas’ programs, please visit www.BarnabasNassau.org.
FERNANDINA BEACH, FL (April 2, 2021)
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation are excited to announce their first-ever Garden Party benefit event on Sunday, April 25, 2021. This outdoor, socially-distanced event will be live, in-person for those choosing to purchase a table, or online for those who wish to view the event from home and bid on auction items. The event will once again be hosted at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island – a trusted partner of the Boys & Girls Clubs for many years – this time on the Oceanfront Lawn rather than the ballroom.
The Garden Party proceeds support the work of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County in providing the youth of our community a safe space to work on academics, engage with positive role models, and develop into confident leaders. The event will feature live music, an auction, beer, wine, and specialty cocktails.
This year our auction includes fine jewelry from Robison Jewelry, fabulous excursions and experiences, memorabilia and other wonderful items. Those who are unable to attend in person can participate by bidding online. Table sponsorships start at $2,000. For more information, to buy tickets, or to participate in the auction, please visit https://bgcnassau.com/gardenparty/ or call 904-261-8666.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau depend on annual fundraising events to support afterschool and summer programs at our two clubs. At both the Roberts Learning and Achievement Center and the Miller Freedom Center local youth ages 6 to 18 are mentored by our professional staff and volunteers to develop skills in character, health, fitness, technology, the arts, and sports.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Amelia’s Fine Jewelry has appreciated our local health care heroes. To show gratitude for the sacrifices so many have shown, Amelia’s Fine Jewelry owner Gigi Grubner is donating a $500 gift certificate from her store to Robin Thomas, who works at Baptist Nassau Hospital in Environmental Services.
In nominating Robin for this honor, her supervisor Don Gabriel noted that Robin has worked for the hospital since March 2004, devoting 17 years of her life to extraordinary service.
“Robin has worked in all the areas of the hospital, but for the last three years she has been in the AAU unit (commonly called the ICU). Every day she faces the challenge of COVID patients. She doesn’t complain at all. She actually takes ownership saying, ‘Those are my rooms.’ She is a team player and works with Nursing hand in hand removing linen or wiping up spills, taking out trash or providing great service to our patients. She also has four more rooms on the Medical floor where we have adapted more COVID rooms. She is a go-getter and takes full responsibility to make sure her patients have everything taken care of and provides a nice clean environment for them. Robin is dependable and someone we count on every day. Robin’s heart is always in the right place, and we are so proud to have her in our department,” Gabriel said.
Grubner said she wanted to find a way to show her appreciation for a health care hero who might not otherwise be recognized.
“Throughout this difficult year, so many people in the community have gone above and beyond to help their fellow citizens. As the owner of Amelia's Fine Jewelry, I wanted to find a way to recognize a community member who has gone above and beyond. We have all struggled in one way or another this year, none more than our health care heroes. I decided to reach out to Baptist Hospital to honor an employee who has been directly involved with Covid-19 patients and has become an example of selfless service. Each department in the hospital nominated an employee, and while each and every one was deserving, I am so pleased to present this $500 gift certificate to Amelia's Fine Jewelry to Robin,” Grubner said. “Her nomination stood out because she put herself at risk everyday making sure the Covid patients were cared for in a clean environment. So often, the housekeepers are overlooked in this life and death struggle, so our store wanted to make sure someone with Robin’s dedication was thanked and celebrated.”
FASTSIGNS of Fernandina Beach Puts Community First in 2020
(FERNANDINA BEACH, Flo.) March 9, 2021 -- FASTSIGNS® of Fernandina Beach was recently recognized at the 2021 Virtual FASTSIGNS/Signwave International Convention for their contributions to their community as a part of the FASTSIGNS Cares program.
In 2020, they used their business as a platform for positive change. When COVID-19 hit and businesses started shutting down, FASTSIGNS of Fernandina Beach brainstormed what they could produce and offer to help their community. They first focused on acrylics and designed and produced shields in-house before being asked about intubation boxes. Within 24 hours, they designed and produced their first intubation box and donated it to the local hospital. This team was the first (first in Florida & the first FASTSIGNS franchise) to respond and produce intubation boxes.
To further support their community, they replicated a "Sign up the Town" initiative from another FASTSIGNS franchise and sold over $1,000 in healthcare worker appreciation signs. The team took the revenue from the signs and matched it, using it to buy gift certificates to local restaurants that they then delivered to the local hospital to give out to their employees. This showed gratitude to the healthcare workers while simultaneously helping out local restaurants. FASTSIGNS also made and donated a recognition banner for the hospital and a first responder recognition banner from the community to the first responders which was installed over Centre Street. In addition, they donated face shields to the local emergency room and made "Nurses Rock" bracelets that they gifted to the nurses at the hospital.
FASTSIGNS involved the entire community, and the city and county worked with them on the banners donation project. The hospital and medical offices worked together with FASTSIGNS on the design of the acrylic shields and intubation boxes while giving them referrals to other Hospitals in the region as well as one in Louisiana and Minnesota. The community was also involved in supporting fundraising efforts for the hospital and staff, and FASTSIGNS’ team members’ families encouraged and supported all the effort, time and sacrifices it took for these projects while understanding the danger of their loved one being exposed to the virus.
Their efforts enabled them to build a relationship with their local hospital as the "first source" provider for acrylics and signage. The community showed appreciation by contributing to their efforts in fundraising and acknowledging first responders. They were also recognized by the Jacksonville Florida CBS and Fox news stations for their efforts.
“Our team and their family members are all part of the community we serve and we feel fortunate, honored, proud, and humbled by this entire ordeal,” said Eric Webb.
In addition, the team also recognized the 2020 High School seniors with Graduation signs for all the public and private high schools in the county, sold the signs at cost and delivered/installed them in the seniors’ yards at no charge.
FASTSIGNS of Fernandina Beach is located at 1410 E Oak Street, Fernandina Beach. The center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday by appointment only.
Barnabas Center will be opening a second New to You Resale Store in Yulee in late spring 2021. Income earned from sales throughout the Yulee store will help support expanded services in west Nassau county. This includes medical and dental care, food assistance and crisis assistance.
The Yulee New to You resale store will be located at the corner of US-17 and State Road 200. In addition, donations of gently used clothing, furniture, household, and other items are currently being accepted at New to You Resale Store’s Fernandina Beach location at 930 South 14th Street.
For more information, call Barnabas Center at (904) 261-7000.
Barnabas Center Nassau
Submitted by Alexandra Winsor
February 18, 2020
The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce awarded Barnabas Center the Nonprofit Business of the Year. Wanda Lanier, President and CEO of Barnabas accepted the award on behalf of Barnabas Center.
The purpose of the chamber awards is to highlight individuals and businesses who work hard to provide important services to the Nassau County community. Barnabas extends its appreciation to those who continue to support its mission to provide help and hope to the many people in need in our community, especially throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Maureen Paschke, Barnabas board member, nominated Barnabas Center for the Nonprofit of the Year Award. “Barnabas has been and continues to be a lifeline for vulnerable Nassau residents.” Said Paschke. “As people struggle to maintain their quality of life during this unanticipated and extraordinary national crisis, Barnabas is keeping them afloat as they navigate income loss, health concerns, food insecurity and economic strife.
Barnabas Center is Nassau County’s only comprehensive service organization that addresses critical issues of access to affordable health care, hunger and homeless prevention for individuals and families with incomes at 200 percent or below the Federal Poverty Level. Its programs collectively address the short- and long-term needs of individuals and families in crisis so they can become healthy, productive citizens, thereby strengthening the entire community.
For more information about Barnabas’ programs, please visit our website at www.BarnabasNassau.org.
Join the Inaugural Bow Wow Walk 2021 Fundraiser, a Benefit for Community Hospice & Palliative Care Pet Programs, Presented by Pet Paradise
February 16, 2021 (Jacksonville, Fla.) - Community Hospice & Palliative Care is hosting the inaugural Bow Wow Walk 2021, presented by Pet Paradise. This month-long walk, marathon challenge is a benefit for the Community Hospice & Palliative Care pet programs.
With the goal of helping patients with advanced illness keep their pets at home, the pet assistance program can help with nearly all the responsibilities of pet ownership. Specially trained volunteers visit patients at home to provide care for their pet, including feeding, dog walking, and litter box changing. Volunteers deliver complimentary pet food and supplies, arrange transportation for pets to and from veterinary and grooming appointments, and provide prescription medications and flea, tick and, heartworm treatments as the need is identified. Because of this program, elderly hospice patients can continue to enjoy the companionship of the animals they love, and who love them back, without worry.
“At Pet Paradise, we know how special pets are and they play an integral part of our families,” said Pet Paradise President and CEO Fernando Acosta-Rua. “We are honored to support this fundraiser that provides much-needed assistance to Community Hospice & Palliative Care patients and gives companion pets the care they need while allowing them to stay with their beloved owners.”
The Pet Therapy program is one more way Community Hospice & Palliative Care brings comfort and compassion to patients and families. Pet therapy teams visit patients at Community Hospice Centers for Caring – or wherever they call home. This program benefits to patients by reducing stress, increasing sensory stimulation and relief from pain. Studies have shown that pets can be physically and mentally beneficial for people of all ages.
Kickoff is “Love Your Pet Day” on Feb. 20, 2021, and ends on Mar. 20, 2021. Take part in supporting these unfunded programs while exercising and getting outdoors. How can you help? Paw-ticipate as an individual or team and share the news. Get your family, friends, and neighbors to pledge support for your walk and the programs. Throughout the month-long challenge, awards will be announced including “Participant that Walked the Most”, “Best Furry Companion Photo”, “Team that Raised the Most Money” and many more.
For more information or to get registered visit BowWow.CommunityHospice.com or call 904.886.3883.
Keep Nassau Beautiful Celebrates Florida Arbor Day by Distributing 500 Trees to Nassau County Residents
Nassau County, Florida, February 3, 2021 – Florida Arbor Day is celebrated annually on the third Friday in January. In 2021 Keep Nassau Beautiful (KNB) celebrated the day with their second annual Adopt-A-Tree project. During the inaugural event in 2020 KNB distributed more than 340 free trees to Nassau County residents. The goal for the 2021 project was increased to distribute 500 free trees to Nassau County residents. Residents responded enthusiastically and reserved all 500 trees in advance!
To ensure the safety of participants and volunteers KNB utilized an on-line educational program and tree species reservation process. Residents were asked to view a video recorded by Rebecca Jordi, former Nassau County Extension Director and certified arborist, to learn about proper planting and maintenance of trees in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone for Nassau County. UF/IFAS Tree Specification Sheets were provided via an on-line link for the initial seven species of trees available through the event. After viewing the educational video and the tree specification sheets residents used an on-line form to reserve their preferred species of one or two trees from those available at the time of their reservation. Residents had the option of picking up their trees from three locations in Nassau County on subsequent Saturdays in January. More than 40 volunteers assisted in the three drive-through events held in Fernandina Beach, Callahan, and Yulee. The volunteers provided 180 hours of service to load trees into vehicles for safe travel to their new homes in Nassau County.
Liberty Landscape Supply of Fernandina Beach sourced the seven species of trees, cared for them until their scheduled distribution date, and delivered the trees to each of the three distribution locations. Many residents commented on the quality of the trees noting their size and health as superb.
“Keep Nassau Beautiful is fortunate again this year to have the support of Rayonier, Rayonier Advanced Materials, Liberty Landscape Supply, Florida Department of Transportation, Nassau County Board of County Commissioners, Fernandina Beach City Commissioners, the Callahan Masonic Lodge, individual donors, and our many hearty volunteers,” said Kelley McCarter, KNB Board Member and Adopt-A-Tree Project Chair.
With on-going support from the community for an annual Florida Arbor Day event, Keep Nassau Beautiful plans to continue the Adopt-A-Tree project in 2022 to help off-set the loss of trees in Nassau County due to development, weather events, and age. If you would like to learn more, donate, or to register for notification of the next Adopt-A-Tree event, visit https://keepnassaubeautiful.org/programs/planting-nassaus-future/ or 904-261-0165.
Take Stock in Children
Robin C. Lentz, Executive Director
February 3, 2021
Take Stock in Children of Nassau County (TSICN) is excited to announce they are hosting a virtual gala Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 7 in the evening. The “Home Grown Virtual Gala” is inspired by Take Stock’s desire to support and showcase local businesses in Nassau County and feature talented and deserving Take Stock Nassau students, while keeping our guests safe as they participate from home. Ticketed guests will pick up a three-course meal from the popular Lagniappe Restaurant and tune in to the program live-streamed from Amelia Community Theatre. The event will be hosted by the talented John Drew and guests will be entertained by dazzling performances from Take Stock students. The gala will include an online auction to bid on fun excursions, unique art and jewelry, and gift certificates to local restaurants and shops.
TSICN is a nonprofit organization working to stop the cycle of poverty for low-income students. TSICN provides mentors and scholarships to academically promising students. The program begins in middle school, continues through high school, and supports students in college and career. Public and private donations help qualified Nassau County students achieve their dreams for a better future through their own hard work and Take Stock’s support.
“Take Stock in Children Nassau County is focused on changing the lives of talented, deserving local students and helping them achieve their dreams. We hope you will join us for this fun event and make a difference for these talented students,” says Chair of the Board of Directors, Regina Lee.
Help celebrate March as “Take Stock in Children” month by purchasing tickets to the virtual gala at www.takestocknassau.org. Your investment stays local and builds the rigorous standards of success for TSICN students.
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