JP Hall Children’s Charities will continue as drive-thru event

Annual holiday giveaway scheduled for Dec. 13 at Clay County Fairgrounds

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 12/13/01

CLAY COUNTY – Despite recent challenges and shutdowns, JP Hall Children’s Charities will be handing out more than 6,000 toys to residents through their drive thru next month.

The annual JP …

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JP Hall Children’s Charities will continue as drive-thru event

Annual holiday giveaway scheduled for Dec. 13 at Clay County Fairgrounds

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Despite recent challenges and shutdowns, JP Hall Children’s Charities will be handing out more than 6,000 toys to residents through their drive thru next month.

The annual JP Hall Children’s is one of the biggest holiday giveaways a big deal. It’s an event that involves thousands of toys that are given away to the needy children. For many, the toys are the only toys they’ll get during the holiday season.

Even when COVID-19 pandemic hit, the charity didn’t flinch.

“It wasn’t ever a question of should we or should we not have the party,” JP Hall president Virginia Hall said. “It was a matter of figuring out how to do it safely during all of this. We weren’t asking ourselves if we could do it. We were asking how we could do it safely for our volunteers and for the children and their families”

The charity decided on a drive-thru party. Parents usually arrive at the Clay County Agricultural Fairgrounds on Friday before the Saturday morning Christmas party. They camp out overnight to be first in line so that they can get bags of toys for each of their children and a bicycle to match as well. That won’t be possible this year.

The first reason is there won’t be an in-person standing line. Residents will line up in their vehicles at the Clay County Fairgrounds near the Cattlemen’s Arena to pick up their toys. The second reason is JP Hall is not allowing anyone to camp out overnight. The event has been moved to Sunday, Dec. 13, and it will run from noon to 4 p.m.

Hall said it’s all about safety and ease for everyone involved – the parents, the children and the volunteers. She said that only Clay County residents will be allowed to pick up toys and IDs will be checked to ensure everyone in line is a county resident. Children will also need to be in the car for parents to pick up toys.

While children can still expect the usual bag of a handful of toys, there will unfortunately be no bicycles given away this year because children won’t be able to sit on a bike to determine a proper size and proper helmet fit.

COVID-19 also has made it to where that’s not possible for the 39th annual party. Hall joked that this means more bicycles for next year’s big 40th party.

COVID-19 has also made fundraising and community help for this party different. Each toy bag is usually filled with two gifts from JP Hall and two from community partners and donations. All of the gifts have to come from JP Hall this year due to safety reasons and Hall said more money is needed because of that. Hall said the organization isn’t looking for toy donations or volunteers as they try to adhere to CDC guidelines.

She said anyone wishing to help can donate money directly to JP Hall by going to jphallcharities.com and clicking the orange “donate” button. Donations would be especially helpful as JP Hall is having to spend more money than ever before for the party with less money coming in due to the pandemic. The charity even had to cancel its annual lunch and silent auction that helps fund a large amount of toy purchases.

Hall said regardless of what happens in terms of money between now and Dec. 13, the 39th annual JP Hall Children’s Charity Christmas Party will happen.

“We always want to serve Clay County and Clay County’s children and we’re just going to continue to do like we’ve done every year and do the best job we can with community support,” she said.

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