Ways to Help Underprivileged Students

Holiday Gifts for Students being Wrapped

Helping is easy and rewarding. Bright Holidays encourages anyone looking to lend a hand to get involved. Currently, Bright Holidays is accepting donations for the 2014 holiday season and welcomes contributions of any amount. Every dollar helps and, please remember, Bright Holidays uses virtually every dollar raised to help those in need, i.e., Bright Holidays retains nothing for salaries or routine operating expenses.

If you would like to help us brighten someone's holidays, use the Donate button on this page and bring joy to someone less fortunate this holiday season. Note, in 2015 we'll send you a report showing how we spent the monies raised.

In addition to raising funds, Bright Holidays also welcomes volunteers and is currently looking for those who have time in early December to shop, sort and deliver gifts of clothing, food, school supplies and other essential items. For students, Bright Holidays offers a fun, festive way to earn service hours. For families, Bright Holidays affords an opportunity to give as a family by participating in sorting and wrapping.

Currently, we have the following Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Wednesday, December 3: 9am-Noon & 1pm-4pm
  • Thursday, December 4: 9am-Noon & 1pm-4pm
  • Friday, December 5: 9am-Noon & 1pm-4pm
  • Saturday, December 6: 9am-1pm

Sign up to Volunteer!

Please get involved and enjoy the season of giving. Your contribution of time and/or money will truly have an impact and you'll gain the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference in someone's life.

One-Time Online Donation

Donate to Bright Holidays using PayPal »»

Know that Bright Holidays uses every dollar of every donation to help those in need. Nothing is retained for salaries, office space or other routine operating expenses.

Donation by Mail

If you would like to donate by mail, please send your check, payable to Bright Holidays, 24532 Deer Trace Drive, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.

Frequently Asked Questions About Donations

Is my contribution tax-deductible?
Yes. Bright Holidays is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are fully tax deductible.

How will my donation be used? Will a portion of my donation go towards paying your staff?
All monies raised by Bright Holidays go to help those in need. Nothing is retained for salaries, office space or other routine operating expenses. This is possible because Bright Holidays relies solely on volunteers and enjoys business relationships with area firms who provide pro bono accounting, legal, marketing and technology services.

How does Bright Holidays identify those in need?
Bright Holidays works through local schools where, over the course of the fall semester, faculty members determine who is in need of assistance. Each school compiles a list of students (and families) and, upon approval by the school principal, submits its list to Bright Holidays.

What types of items or gifts does Bright Holidays actually provide?
Bright Holidays provides comfort to children and their families in many ways. Since 2003 Bright Holidays has provided food, clothing, school supplies, books and other essential items.

Due to the efforts of businesses and, especially, the Providence School who run toy drives, Bright Holidays also provides children with toys, sporting equipment and board games. This year, the Women Business Owners of North Florida and the JAX Chamber Health Council, Mandarin Council, North Council and Beaches Division also sponsored Toy & Book Drives. Suggested items include:

Toy Selection List

  • Family board game
  • Educational game
  • Art set
  • Football
  • Soccer Ball
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Book/puzzle for Elementary, Middle or High School student
  • Coloring book & Crayons
  • Make up, Jewelry & Accessories for High School students

Book Selection List (A few suggestions - just to get you started)

PreK - 2nd Grade:

  • Can't You Sleep Little Bear?
  • Clifford Goes to Dog School (any Clifford's books)
  • Curious George (any of the books)
  • Make Way for Ducklings
  • Stellaluna
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • Berenstain Bears books
  • Little Critter books

Grade 2-3

  • Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
  • How to Be Cool in the Third Grade
  • Ramona Quimby Age 8
  • Duke Ellington
  • Third Grade is Trouble

Grade 3-5

  • The Baby Sitter's Club (any from series)
  • Bunnicula
  • Charlotte's Web
  • Goosebumps (any from the series)
  • Judy Blume Declares Independence (any of the series)
  • Why Do Feet Smell?

Grade 4-6

  • Because of Winn Dixie
  • Junebug
  • Love That Dog
  • Mudshark
  • My Teacher is an Alien
  • The Phantom Tollbooth

Grade 6-8

  • Boys are Dogs (girls)
  • The Healing Spell (girls)
  • Holes
  • Little Women (girls)
  • Matilda
  • Percy Jackson (any from the series)(grade 7-8)
  • The Secret Garden
  • Storm Runners (boys)
  • Ten True Tales: War Heroes (boys)
  • The Wednesday Wars (grade 7)
  • White Fang
  • World's Dumbest Crooks (boys)

Please bring NEW unwrapped toys and books to our warehouse on Wednesday, December 3. Please contact Leigh Forrester at lforrester@brightholidays.org for this year's warehouse location.

Does Bright Holidays really make a difference?
We believe Bright Holidays truly has an impact. Bright Holidays began when its founder learned of children: who stayed home from school when temperatures dropped because they didn't own a coat; who had never received a holiday gift; who slept on floors without blankets; who didn't have basic school supplies; and who went without food because their families had very little income. These are the people Bright Holidays helps.

How did Bright Holidays perform in 2013?
Learn more on how Bright Holidays helped improve the lives of underprivileged students in Jacksonville by downloading our 2013 Summary (PDF). View our 2012 Summary (PDF) and 2011 summary (PDF) as well.

What are schools saying about Bright Holidays?

As in prior years, we received many thank you notes from students, their parents and school administrators; please find samples attached (with names removed).

What are some challenges for 2014?
We anticipate new challenges in 2014. Raising funds in our current economic climate will doubtless prove difficult while the need for charitable giving appears destined for new heights. Difficulty notwithstanding, our Board of Directors remains committed to helping the children of less fortunate families, often the unintended victims of lost jobs and rising costs. We will therefore expand our ranks, adding two to three new members, increase the number of volunteers and raise the intensity of our fund-raising efforts. We will also remain vigilant in our use of time and resources to ensure we continue returning virtually 100% of every dollar raised to our community.

It is our hope that this information gives you confidence that all donations have been well spent. Moreover, I hope it encourages you to be a part of Bright Holidays and to continue supporting our efforts. Together, we can make a difference.

I can't make a donation right now. Are there other ways I can contribute?
If you can't make a cash donation for the 2014 holiday season, please give us your time. We're currently looking for volunteers for Dec. 3-6, 2014 to help sort and deliver gifts of clothing, food, school supplies and other essential items. We are also looking for local businesses, civic organizations and individuals to sponsor toy & book drives.

Make a Donation

Questions about Donating?

Bright Holidays uses Paypal as its online payment solution for donations. Just select the button above, enter in the amount you would like to donate to Bright Holidays, and enter in your information.

Know that Bright Holidays uses every dollar of every donation to help those in need. Nothing is retained for salaries, office space or other routine operating expenses.

See our Frequently Asked Questions for more details on donating.

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A Special Thanks

Bright Holidays relies solely on volunteer efforts and operates with no fixed expense due in part to services provided at no cost by The Griggs Group (accounting), Reznicsek, Fraser, White & Shaffer, P.A.. (law), SunTrust (banking), and Gist Create (website design & development).