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Sarasota Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021 5 months ago

Sarasota residents' good deeds land them on The Nice List

Charitable acts around the holidays worth mentioning.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

From decorations to parties, there’s no shortage of Christmas cheer visible around the Sarasota area. However, every year, the city's organizations give special attention to the meaningful spirit of the season with plenty of donations. Several organizations put their most generous foot forward during December and make the Nice List with ease. 

Of course, with the plethora of manifestations of the giving spirit, we’re sure there are a few names we missed. Unlike Santa, even though we checked our list twice, we can’t keep an eye on the city at all times. 

It's a holiday tradition

The folks at Manasota Flooring have been providing holiday dinners for hundreds of first responders for years, and this season was no exception. 

500 turkeys were provided to fire-rescue and police officers on Dec. 15 at each of the business' three showrooms, in Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice.

“We are incredibly blessed to once again host our annual turkey giveback event for first responders in our community. With so much uncertainty, it’s nice to give back and have the opportunity to stick to our traditions, giving an extra boost to our heroes and first responders,” said Chris Quattlebaum, Manasota Flooring Manager. “Our community continues to grow and we are proud to step up and show our thanks and appreciation for those who keep us safe!”

A world of good thoughts

When the decision was made to install security bollards in front of the main entry of Temple Sinai's school,  Laura Freedman,  the director of early childhood education, worried what this large, round, immovable object would look like and if it would be a constant reminder of all the “what if’s.”

An idea sprung to mind, and she sought out a very talented local artist, Skip  Dyrda, who happens to be a member of the temple.

The “meatball” has been transformed into a sphere depicting our planet Earth…a globe
with a diverse group of children with joined hands wrapped around the entire equator.

The ornaments on Mirror Image Dentistry have different personalities.
Ornamental popularity

The staff of Gulf Gate's Mirror Image Dentistry (run by twins Amy and Leslie Nulty -- get it?) like to keep people's minds off what's happening in their mouths during the holiday season. So, for the last 20 years, they've been enlisting their patients' help in voting for their favorite staff-made decoration hanging on the lobby Christmas Tree. 

Each year, the popular-vote winning ornament's title is inscribed on a lobby plaque. 

There's an Angry Birds ornament. Yoda. Ornaments that look like pugs (the twins, they love the dogs). A lot of other creative pieces adorn the lobby tree.

Helping out 
Cardinal Mooney students helped members of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office load up donated gifts.

Cardinal Mooney students are spreading the Christmas spirit with hundreds of toys donated to help those in need this season. 

The Cardinal Mooney chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society collected new toys to support Andrew’s Toybox in partnership with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

The donated toys by Cardinal Mooney students will benefit the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. Donations were picked up by the Sheriff’s Department on Dec. 13.

The school's families and staff also purchased gifts for three dozen residents of Sunshine Meadows Nursing Home in Sarasota.

A new friend after the holidays?

For those craving a new four-legged friend after the rush of the holidays, the Humane Society of Sarasota County has a special deal that lasts through the end of the month. 

Adoption fees are reduced to $25 for select cats and dogs through Dec. 31 at the shelter, 2331 15th St. 

According to the Humane Society, all animals adopted are up to date on vaccinations and flea, tick, and parasite preventives; spayed/neutered; microchipped, dewormed, heartworm and leukemia and FIV tested. See what's available at

Bilingual arts donation 

The Van Wezel Foundation received recently a $10,000 grant from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation to support virtual Bilingual Family Art Nights.

Virtual Bilingual Family Art Nights serve to align children, caregivers, and families in the Hispanic communities with targeted learning objectives, while providing them with tools and lessons they can continue at home to expand learning.

During virtual Bilingual Family Art Nights, children are exposed to an artistic discipline alongside an academic or social-emotional learning competency, providing multiple means for understanding, strengthening learning in both arenas. It is designed to pair a variety of artistic disciplines (dance/movement, visual arts, drama, and creative writing) with English Language Arts and STEM subjects, with all materials now translated in Spanish.



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