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Spirit of Christmas -- Ninth annual benefit at the Legion open to all Tuesday, Dec. 1

November 24, 2015
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Just as every year past for the last eight years, coordinators of the now-ninth annual Spirit of Christmas benefit have been hard at work for the last several months to ensure this fund-raiser is the biggest and best one to date, taking place Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 10 p.m. at the American Legion Post 274, 899 Buttonwood Drive. All are welcome to attend, and there is no cost to enter.

Benefit-goers can enjoy a wealth of spirited fun that evening, from the numerous tables abounding with silent auctions to the raffles upon raffles, delicious food and drink specials, live music and more.

"We are so happy that Brylcream will perform during our benefit that evening," said Jim Jamieson, lead coordinator and founder of the organization, along with his wife, Sharon. "They are one of the best locally known doo-wop bands in the area, and we're lucky to have them, eager to hear (and dance to) their music."

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Local angels Jim and Sharon Jamieson, along with their family of volunteers, during a past annual Spirit of Christmas benefit. This year’s ninth annual event will take place Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 10 p.m., at the American Legion. MELISSA SCHNEIDER

The seemingly endless stretch of silent auction prizes up for grabs that evening will range from anything between bath and beauty makeovers, products and baskets to island getaways, fishing trips and ocean adventures.

The Spirit of Christmas benefit is well-known for the rows and rows of fantastic items available in the silent auction room, all donated from local businesses and merchants, and helps the cause that much more.

"Our wonderful local businesses and donors have been offering so many wonderful gifts and prizes for our silent auction tables," Jim said. "We have packages from several major Beachfront resorts, golf course packages both private and public, some really neat restaurant packages, and many unique gifts. We wish to thank our very generous merchants so very, very much for your heartful donations.

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"If you are giving from the heart, whatever you bid/win/buy that evening becomes a gift to help one of these families, and you get your money back in the way of that gift," Jim said. "Absolutely 100 percent of the proceeds goes directly to these families in need, all individually sought out, hand-picked, to be sure we are truly helping those who really, really need it."

Well-known for their tasty meals and great-priced drinks, the Legion will be offering a full meal that evening. "We will, once again, be having a great dinner, cooked up by the Legion a complete meal for under $8. They're always delicious," Jim said.

All are welcome to attend, whether or not you are a member of the Legion, and donations are tax-deductible.

What it's all for

The annual Spirit of Christmas benefit is held to raise funds for the Spirit of Christmas Foundation, giving a Christmas to hundreds of local children and families in need who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to enjoy such a spiritual, memorable holiday.

Jim and Sharon have been working diligently to not only get this benefit organized and organized well but have put in hours upon hours of research to find local families in dire need of help. This benefit, as always, will be raising funds to help those families. During a specific time and place shortly after the Dec. 1 benefit takes place, Jim, Sharon and their Spirit volunteers/angels gather with these families in need, giving them a shopping spree with the money collected from donations. The families then go through, purchasing gifts for their children and loved ones. Once all is said and done, Jim and Sharon supply the wrapping paper and supplies, also all donated, so the parents can properly wrap and place their wonderful gifts under the also-provided, fully lit Christmas trees.

"Let's just say, lots of tears are shed during the shopping evening, from both the volunteers and those we're helping," Jim humbly stated.

About the Spirit of Christmas

The goal of the "Spirit of Christmas" campaign is to raise money so the group can provide Christmas for children in Southwest Florida who would have little or no gifts. The idea of providing Christmas for a needy family was started many years ago. Over the years, the number of families the group has helped has grown into the thousands, and now able to raise enough funds to give Christmas to hundreds of local Southwest Florida children annually.

Throughout the nine years of the foundation's existence, it's helped literally thousands of children in more than 1,150 families, raising more than $250,000 for the cause. The foundation also works with Golisano Children's Hospital and HealthPark, to assist families pouring every last cent of their income into fighting horrible diseases. Last year, a very special family, in particular, warmed the Jamiesons' hearts.

"All of this is possible, thanks to the generosity of our community the American Legion Post 274, the Sons of the American Legion, the Women's Auxiliary, Chris and Joni Hall of the Hall Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Ehlars, Johnny Solar, and the wonderful generosity of our island businesses and nearby establishments," Jim said. "We couldn't do any of this without them those donated prizes and gifts bring in a lot of funds to our foundation, and we're thankful for each and every one of them."

If interested in seeing how you can help the organization, whether it's in the form of a monetary donation, gift for the raffles/silent auctions, or volunteering, visit



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