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Sarasota Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 3 months ago

Sarasota organizations on Santa's nice list

Holiday cheer is abundant in Sarasota even during COVID-19.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

The holidays are a time of good tidings and giving, and Sarasota has no shortage of generosity even in the midst of a pandemic. 

Here’s a round-up of some of Sarasota’s do-gooders this holiday season: 

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office: During its fourth annual holiday toy drive benefitting the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program, the sheriff’s office raised more than $10,000 to buy toys for children in need. The office also held a drive-by toy drive with a visit from Santa so community members could donate.

The Patterson Foundation: The foundation has donated $200,000 to the community’s Season of Sharing Campaign, which helps families in crisis get back on their feet. The foundation also pledged to donate an unlimited amount of $100,000 gifts for every $500,000 the campaign raises until Jan. 31. 

The foundation also donated $50,000 to Wreaths Across America at Sarasota National Cemetery to provide ceremonial wreath donations for the headstones of the veterans laid to rest there.

Mothers Helping Mothers: The nonprofit held its annual Toy Day on Dec. 18 to collect toys, monetary donations and gift cards for local families in need. This year, the nonprofit helped 200 families.

Vern and Liliana Chalfant: The Chalfants are celebrating their love and passion for the performing arts with a matching donation challenge benefiting the Van Wezel Foundation. The Chalfant Challenge will match dollar for dollar donations to the foundation through March 2021.

The Ringling Museum: Although the annual toy drive looked a little different this year, the museum made sure to collect toys and donations benefiting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots. Attendees drove through a spectacle of performers before dropping off their donations. 

SPARCC: Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center turned its parking lot into a winter wonderland for a pandemic-friendly toy drive. SPARCC “elves’ greeted donors with bells and carols as they dropped off donations. The toys were then set up for a “shopping day” for SPARCC clients to select holiday toys for their children at no cost to them.  

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