Helping Beach School Families
Since May 1985 the primary mission of the Beach Kids Foundation has been to provide financial assistance for qualifying Fort Myers Beach students through scholarships and educational supplies. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Beach Kids Foundation is once again stepping up by donating $100 Publix Supermarket gift cards to all Beach Elementary School (BES) student families for groceries during this challenging time.
“Our Beach Kids Foundation Board Members were talking about how we can help the Beach School kids during the coronavirus pandemic crisis,” said Linda Beasley, President to the Foundation, “and we felt assisting them and their families with acquiring food was the best way. Last Christmas, we reached out to 80 Beach School families and thought that would be a great place to start, so we contacted Ms. Renee, who runs the Beach School Office, and she provided us with the addressed envelopes for each of those, and we put a $100 Publix gift card in every one and mailed those out. Remember, many parents of our Beach Kids are in the hospitality industry that is in a devastating state today, so that makes this even more important!”
To date, the Foundation has raised $10,000 and counting to assist the Beach School students and their families. “If you want to contribute to help out these folks, we are still collecting donations,” Linda explained. “It is not just the Publix gift cards, but we stand ready at all times to assist the Beach Elementary School students in any possible way! Simply mail your check to the Beach Kids Foundation at 2801 Estero Boulevard, Suite B, Fort Myers Beach, Florida, 33931 or give me a call at 239-980-0661 and we can make arrangements with you. There are two other ways to assist as well: you can still buy a calendar from the Fort Myers Beach Firefighters who donate all the proceeds to us, or you can purchase a $50 Beach Kids logo sticker from Tiffany Kersten at Hammerhead Beach Gym at 3051 Estero Boulevard and she contributes all those funds to us as well.”
A significant part of the funds used for the Publix gift cards came from the Boardwalk Caper Club of Fort Myers Beach. “They held their annual Fashion Show, ‘Tea Time,’ at Shell Point Country Club on Saturday, March 14, with all proceeds going to the Beach Kids Foundation,” Linda related. “We were quite lucky, as that was the weekend everything started to go into hibernation due to coronavirus issues, and they raised $2,020 for us. For those who may be unfamiliar, Boardwalk Caper is the community fronted by the long white wall on San Carlos Boulevard, just before you reach San Carlos Island. We owe special thanks to Donna Raymond, who went out of her way to make this partnership possible!”
“What the Foundation is concentrating on now is getting ready to award our annual scholarships,” Linda offered. “We are preparing the applications and expect those to be ready in the next few weeks, so be on the lookout for that announcement. Each student recipient receives a $1,000 scholarship to continue their education at their various universities. The Beach Kids Foundation has been awarding scholarships for over 20 years and last year we provided a new record number of 26; that seems to go up every year because the need seems to increase every year. All a student needs to do to qualify is to either live on Fort Myers Beach with an immediate family member, or have one of their parents work at an island business. Last year, for the first time, the Foundation offered scholarships to attend trade schools, as a traditional college education is not for everyone.”
In addition to scholarships, the Foundation hosts the multi-event “Spirit of the Holidays” in December each year to ensure that all Fort Myers Beach kids enjoy a Merry Christmas complete with gifts. Spirit of the Holidays includes the Dinner & Auction, along with the Annual Pancake Breakfast in conjunction with the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department. The Beach Kids Foundation also presents the “Golden Coconut” Award to the Beach School Teacher of the Year; originated the annual Easter Egg Hunt now run by the Town of Fort Myers Beach Parks & Recreation Department; and this year distributed the $100 Publix gift cards. Unfortunately, due to all schools being closed for the remainder of this academic year, the Golden Coconut Award has been postponed.
“The Beach Kids Foundation has no Executive Director,” summarized Linda, “with unpaid officers and Board members, and almost no administrative costs other than paying for our annual audit and one or two other things, 100% of every dollar we collect goes back to our community’s children.” For more information on the Beach Kids Foundation see their Facebook page.