Holiday spirit filled the room of the Tampa Airport Marriott on December 9th for Eckerd’s 8th annual Jingle Jangle Jam. More than 400 of the community’s top philanthropists, business owners and child advocates attended the holiday gala in support of helping our community’s most precious resource ~ children. Proceeds from the event raised more than $400,000 to help abused, neglected and at-risk children receive a second chance.
This holiday gala has become the signature annual fundraiser for Eckerd Kids, a non-profit youth services organization headquartered in Clearwater that was founded by Jack and Ruth Eckerd in 1968. Today, Eckerd Kids offers more than 60 life-changing child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, and workforce development programs in fourteen states. In the Tampa Bay area, Eckerd serves as the lead agency for community-based child welfare in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
The 8th annual Jingle Jangle Jam featured an inspiring speech from Chef Jeff Henderson, host of the Food Network’s Family Style with Chef Jeff and creator of the reality series The Chef Jeff Project. Chef Jeff Henderson discovered his passion and gift for cooking in a most unlikely place — behind bars. He used his redemptive journey — from drug dealer to TV celebrity chef to nationally acclaimed motivational speaker — to help others reboot their own dreams and gain a new foothold on the ladder to success. His inspiring life story is now in development by Will & Jada Pinkett Smith for a major feature film.
The evening was highlighted by a moving performance by the Heart of the Heroes band, a musical group comprised of foster children and their foster siblings, who have embraced their new foster families and used their talent to give hope to others.
Event proceeds will help provide second chances for abused, neglected and at-risk children served by Eckerd Kids. This includes much needed funds for the Eckerd | Friends of the Children Program and Eckerd Success Awards.
The funds raised for Eckerd | Friends of the Children will help provide a group of our community’s most vulnerable children in foster care with a long-term paid, professional mentor who will guide them from kindergarten all the way through high school graduation. With Success Awards, children leaving Eckerd’s care to become independent adults can now apply for an award that will provide needed support to pursue their dreams. These funds will go a long way to help break the generational cycle of poverty and abuse of children in our community.
Jingle Jangle Jam was presented by Bright House Networks and premier sponsors included: GreenPages Technology Solutions; CRC Wholesale Group & Bouchard Insurance; David & Becky Dennis; Embrace Home Loans; Bank of America / Merrill Lynch; Provise Management Group; QTEGO; Roberts Printing; Tampa Bay Times; Jessica Ward; Zymphony Technology Solutions; Alltrust Insurance Company; Terrell & Joe Clark; Darol Rodrock Foundation; Florida Blue; The H. Foundation; Harrod Properties; Eileen Kamerick, Vic Heckler & Connor Heckler; and Milner Technologies.
Photos of the event can be found at www.Eckerd.org/JJJ.