This holiday is a time of giving gifts to our loved ones and friends – and those needing help with housing, food, clothing, and the necessities of life.
We all grew up with the Salvation Army’s red kettle and bell-ringing campaigns at the entrance of malls and grocery stores from around Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. This is one of the iconic signs of the season.
As you watch the holiday football games or classic holiday reruns like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” you will see national ads for charities like St. Jude, The Salvation Army, and Goodwill.
But those who are struggling and economically challenged need help year-round. There are many dedicated charities with the mission of helping certain members of society every day, even when the holidays are over.
Year-Round Giving to Help Seniors
Florida Senior Consulting believes deeply in giving back to the communities it serves, emphasizing opportunities that impact the lives of seniors. And we are dedicated to helping seniors year-round.
In addition to helping directly, we like to give time, money, and resources to those charities with a mission of helping seniors in need. For example, we were honored to participate in the recent PopStroke Experience to End Alzheimer’s event in Sarasota, which raised over $10,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.
But charities are all scrambling for the same donation dollars. Non-profits spent more than 5.8 billion dollars in advertising this year to get your attention and donations. This huge advertising spend helps everyone – except local charities.
Local Charities Directly Help Your Community
In the heart of every community, there are unsung heroes tirelessly working to make a difference locally. At Florida Senior Consulting, we witness the daily needs of seniors and understand the critical role of support and care in their lives.
The story of the Dr. Piper Center begins with its visionary founder, Dr. Ella Mae Piper.
Born in 1884 in Brunswick, Georgia, Dr. Piper was a figure of generosity and kindness whose influence still resonates in Fort Myers, Florida.
A graduate of Spelman College and Rohrer’s Institute of Beauty Culture, she also majored in body massage and Swedish movements and became a well-known Chiropodist, or foot doctor.
She was a pioneering entrepreneur and also became a dedicated philanthropist.
She opened the first beauty shop in the community and started the practice of Chiropody. Her entrepreneurial skills blossomed as she became the owner of Big 4 Bottling Company on Mango and Evans, where customers could enjoy soft drinks for just 5 cents a bottle. Today’s Dr. Piper Center is located at the former Big 4 site.
Her legacy is not just in her business achievements but also in her profound impact on the community, particularly the Dunbar Heights area.
Dr. Piper’s compassion was evident in her annual Christmas Celebration, a tradition she began in honor of her mother, Sarah Williams. Starting with a small gathering in 1915, she grew this event into a beloved community fixture, reflecting Dr. Piper’s deep commitment to bringing joy and care to both children and seniors in the community. This tradition is being celebrated again this year.
Mission and Programs: Empowering Seniors, Enriching Lives
The Dr. Piper Center, established in Dr. Piper’s honor, continues her mission of enhancing the social and economic well-being of individuals over 55 in Southwest Florida.
The center’s programs are tailored to address the needs of the frail elderly, at-risk youth, and children with special needs, fostering a holistic community impact. These programs include:
These initiatives not only help seniors but also create a bridge between generations, reinforcing the values of service and compassion in the community.
Florida Senior Consulting and the Dr. Piper Center
Bicycle storage container donated by Florida Senior Consulting Photo Credit: Dr. Piper Center
Sometimes, it does take a village to help. Florida Senior Consulting is committed to helping the Dr. Piper Center in its mission of helping seniors and children in the Southwest Florida community.
We are honored to spread their message to our audience. Although our partnership just began in November, Florida Senior Consulting is:
Presenting the Dr. Piper Center with an initial donation of $1,000
Committing to ongoing financial support
Driving more volunteers to help with Dr. Piper Center programs
Spreading their message through our audiences and others to give greater impact to this landmark local charity as they compete with national charities for donations
Publicize Dr. Piper’s programs and accomplishments to the local and Florida public and beyond
Like the Dr. Piper Center, Florida Senior Consulting is committed to addressing the needs of all seniors, irrespective of their financial situation. We acknowledge the acute challenges low-income seniors face at regional and state levels.
We are heightening community awareness about these challenges and extending our reach beyond local boundaries to foster broader understanding and support.
Dr. Piper Center’s Christmas Celebration, Toy Drive and Giveaway
Community members can help with donations of money or time. You can donate through their Amazon wish list, call them at (239) 332-5346, or go to their donation page. If donations are not in your budget this year, you can volunteer some of your most precious assets: your time.
2023 Dr. Piper Center Toy Drive Information
December 11: The Florida Senior Consulting team will be helping to assemble bicycles from the Dr. Piper Center holiday bicycle drive, which have been stored in a storage unit donated by the company.
December 15: Last day to drop off toy donations.
December 25: The Toy Giveaway takes place Christmas morning, with Florida Senior Consulting being there to support efforts as needed.
A Call to Action: Supporting Local Charities
Our message at Florida Senior Consulting is clear: supporting local charities like the Dr. Piper Center is one of the most effective ways to make a tangible difference in the lives of seniors in the community.
These local organizations offer direct, hands-on support that is often overlooked by larger national entities but is crucial in nurturing the health and happiness of our community’s seniors.
How You Can Help
There are several ways to support the Dr. Piper Center and similar local charities:
Volunteering: Your time and skills can significantly impact these organizations by participating in existing programs or offering new services.
Donations: Financial support helps sustain and expand the reach of these charities, ensuring they can continue their invaluable work.
Spreading the Word: Raising awareness about these local charities can attract more volunteers and donors, amplifying their impact.
Why These Programs Need Donations and Volunteers
An example of an outstanding Dr. Piper Center Program that needs volunteers is the Foster Grandparents Program – with 1200 kids on the waiting list.
This program connects senior grandparent volunteers with at-risk children and reaches from Ft. Myers to Sarasota and beyond. The rewards to the children involved and the benefits to the senior volunteers are immeasurable.
The mentoring grandparents bring openness and sensitivity to the challenges of helping and enriching the lives of at-risk children.
The senior’s lives are profoundly enriched as they restore and reinforce a sense of community and family values with the children. They also feel a sense of purpose and value, which is immeasurably important for a senior’s emotional well-being.
Foster Grandparents volunteers serve 20 hours per week and receive a modest, tax-free stipend, transportation allowance, hot meals where available, accident and liability insurance, and an annual physical exam.
More than 150 Foster Grandparents serve children who are at-risk or who have special needs, and provide more than 110,000 hours of volunteer service annually.
This program provides a unique service built on the natural bond between the young and old. The initiative is invaluable to the children involved, many of whom are survivors of abuse, neglect, chemical dependency, illiteracy, disability, and other challenges.
But, with a waiting list of more than 1100 children, this crucial program needs donations and volunteers.
Beyond the Dr. Piper Center
There are still numerous ways to contribute for those not located near the Dr. Piper Center. We encourage you to seek out and support local charities in your area, focusing on senior care. These organizations often need volunteers, resources, and advocates to continue their critical work.
Additional local charities that benefit seniors to support in the Southwest Florida area include:
Senior Friendship Centers: Offers adult day services, senior activity centers, caregiving resources, healthy meals, exercise classes, volunteer opportunities, lifelong learning, support groups, economic assistance, and more
Community Cooperative: Adopt-A-Senior Program, community cafe and market, Meals on Wheels, mobile food pantries, and more
The strength of a community is reflected in how it cares for its most vulnerable members.
By supporting local charities like the Dr. Piper Center, we honor the legacy of heroes like Dr. Ella Mae Piper and reinforce the fabric of our society through kindness, compassion, and active involvement.
Let us all take a step toward making a difference in the lives of seniors, one local charity at a time.
A Holiday Thought From Florida Senior Consulting
Scott Miller explains the importance of giving back to the community not just during the Christmas season, but year-round.