DAVENPORT – Michael Eckersley is quite proud of all the “Likes” on his new Facebook page – 71 altogether, in a fairly short period of time.
“If you see how many ‘likes’ we’ve got on the page, we are very hopeful about this,” he said.
The page on the popular social media site is not for Eckersley himself, or the property management firm he operates in Davenport, Sunsplash Vacation Homes.
Rather, it’s for the First Friday Kid’s Support Group, a new effort that Eckersley and other supporters organized with one chief goal in mind: to ensure that if money is raised in the community designed to help children in need, that 100 percent of it goes directly to those local kids.
“At the moment, we’ve got 11 supporters, but there are a number of people rallying around us and getting involved in it,” Eckersley said. “They think this is the way to go, with everything going to the kids, and no stuffy meetings. We’re quite happy to take in as many people as we can.”
First Friday Kid’s Support Group is a newly formed group, dedicated to helping local children. The members are now looking for others to either become members or sponsor an event.
As the new Facebook page notes, “The First Friday Kid’s Support Group was formed by a group of local small business owners who want to help underprivileged children in the area to improve their quality of life. We work closely with local school staff who identify those in need of food, clothing, school supplies and other necessities.”
“We would like to get a number of people involved in mentoring and reading programs at the local schools here,” Eckersley said.
In the two months that First Friday Kid’s Support Group has been in place, the members have reached out to and formed alliances with other local charitable organizations, including Give Kids The World, The Green Bag Project, and East Coast Migrants Head Start Project.
Many of the members have also been active in the Four Corners/Davenport Kiwanis Club.
“This is a breakaway group from the Davenport Kiwanis,” Eckersley said. “There are already nine or 10 of us who have formed this new charity group and within two months, we’re already donating money and goods that we’ve got from various places. We’ve already had donated to and have raised $2,500. We’ve managed to get 16 cases, and 1,500 individual packages, of Heinz tomato ketchup that we’re distributing to the Green Bag Project in the schools. And that is just in two months.”
The Green Bag Project, based in Celebration, collects and distributes foods to students in local schools, and also provides back packs filled with foods on Friday afternoons that the students can take home with them.
The group hopes to raise even more money when it holds its first annual Charity Golf Tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Tom Watson Golf Course at Reunion Resort, which will have a 10 a.m. shotgun start. Call 407-240-4653 to learn more.
“We’re excited about that,” Eckersley said.
Eckersley said the members believed that all funds it raises should go to help kids, and not to a parent organization in another state.
“We had to pay a membership fee that went somewhere else,” he said. “We figured we could put it into a charity and not send it away. So we formed this First Friday support group, and every single penny will go to kids in the area.”
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