Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Event's Special Meaning Charity Founder's Spirit Still with It

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Event's Special Meaning Charity Founder's Spirit Still with It

Article excerpt

On Friday, the John P. Hall Sr. Children's Charity will hold its major fund-raising event of the year, a dinner and auction to support the annual Christmas party it holds for underprivileged children and the need-based scholarships it awards to deserving Clay County students.

For the first time, founder J.P. Hall Jr., who created the charity to honor his father, a longtime Clay sheriff, will not be there, having succumbed to cancer in July at the age of 70. But his presence will still be felt, said his daughter, Virginia Steinmetz, the charity's president.

"I feel like he's there in spirit. This was his passion, this was his joy," said Steinmetz, a Green Cove Springs City Council member. "He's probably looking down on us and smiling."

Hall founded the charity to help people who were in need because his family had been so fortunate he felt it was his obligation to do so, friends said. People and businesses can support his vision and the charity's causes by making financial contributions, by donating goods or services to be sold at the auction and by attending the dinner and auction.

The dinner begins at 5:30 p.m.; the live auction at 7:30 p.m. A silent auction will be under way from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for couples ($15 is tax-deductible) and $15 for individuals ($10 is tax-deductible). Also, reserved tables for 10 people can be purchased for $200. To reserve tickets or donate auction items, call 284-6412. Auction items can be donated through today.

"We have gotten a lot of auction items this year, some really neat things," Steinmetz said.

Among the items already waiting to be bid on are an airboat ride for two on Lake George, complete with lunch; a box of lobster tails; a weekend at a St. Augustine condominium; and footballs signed by former Miami Dolphin quarterback Dan Marino, Florida State University head football coach Bobby Bowden and University of Florida head football coach Steve Spurrier, respectively.

The annual Christmas party for children has provided Christmas cheer for more than 30,000 children in its 18-year history. …

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