Florida DEP employees spread holiday cheer to 115 needy kids this year

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For many state employees in Florida, Christmas is about giving, not just to friends, family, and co-workers, but also total strangers who struggle during the holiday season.

Generous employees in a variety of Florida Department of Environmental Protection departments are making the season brighter for more than 115 needy children this year through a series of gift-giving campaigns.

“These donations demonstrate that our employees are not only committed to the work they do, but also to making the communities they live in a better place,” said DEP interim Secretary Cliff Wilson. “I am proud to work alongside such generous people.”

Individual division and district offices have banded together to  spread holiday cheer by way of charity groups:

Florida’s DEP Coastal Office, Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration and Division of State Lands each adopted a family in need with Christmas Connection – a charity that exclusively serves Northern Florida.

In fulfilling the wishes of Big Bend families, Christmas Connection goes beyond just holiday toys and gifts. They donate other essential items to make life easier. For example, this year one of the adopted families received a washer and dryer, contributed by Florida Coastal Office employees.

In Tampa, the DEP Southwest District office sponsored 83 children as part of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association Childcare Center. District employees distributed the gifts to children last week – complete with an appearance by Santa.

Office of Operations and Division of State Lands staff collaborated with the Salvation Army for its  Angel Tree program, providing gifts for 22 children.

Jacksonville’s Northeast District collected more than 50 toys for Dreams Come True, a local First Coast nonprofit dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of children, ages 2½ to 18 years, facing life-threatening illnesses.

As part of its annual toy drive, the Division of Waste Management, which regulates permitting and compliance assistance, collected more than 100 toys for Toys for Tots.

Contributions from the Fort Myers South District staff members and their families went to “Shoebox Ministry,” which collects school supplies and other gifts, for shipment overseas through the Samaritan’s Purse project.

Photo via DEP
Photo via DEP

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.