Seven local families received $7,000 each for ‘Christmas in July’


The Mary Alice Fortin Foundation has generously given seven families a merry Christmas in July. The Foundation gifted $7,000 each to seven families involved with Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. A check presentation ceremony was held on Tuesday, August 8 at Marjorie S. Fisher Boys & Girls Club of West Palm Beach.

“Christmas in July is designed to make a difference in people’s lives at a time of year when it is easy to forget those in need in the community,” reads a letter from Danielle H. Moore, president of the Foundation.

Each family nominated has one or more children in the local Boys & Girls Clubs, a youth development organization that provides children a safe haven after school, life-enhancing programs, and character building opportunities.

“We didn’t nominate you for Christmas in July because we pitied you. We nominated you because we saw strength in you,” Shamus Gordon, club director at The Marjorie Club, told the families during the check presentation ceremony. “I love gardening and I don’t water dead flowers.”

Monies donated may be used by the families any way they wish to relieve financial pressure.

Keith Jackson of Riviera Beach, will use his gift to treat a group of youth he mentors to a day of shopping for sneakers for school, a trip to Boomers, and a nice dinner.

“I want to say thank you to the Boys & Girls Clubs and to the Mary Alice Fortin Foundation,” said Alfreda Surrin-Powell of Belle Glade. “I plan on shopping for school, catching up on bills, and getting my car fixed.”

Another mother, Shellyann Hayden of West Palm Beach, said she plans on replacing furniture she lost during a move and buy school items for her kids.

Sherece Sewer of Riviera Beach will get settled into the home that her family was able to recently buy after years of saving and dreaming.

A single father of four kids, Jose Escobedo will pay off the balance of a double wide mobile home in Belle Glade. Another agency provided him the down payment for the home after his previous trailer was in despair.

“I plan on returning to school to finish a degree in Early Elementary Education,” said Tiffany Webb of Riviera Beach. “I am going to re-take classes that I failed while going through a tough time and I am going to bless my kids and my mother.”

The Mary Alice Fortin Foundation is based in Palm Beach. This private Foundation has supported many children’s causes, education, and other projects in Palm Beach, including the restoration and renovation of Sea Gull Cottage, the oldest house in Palm Beach. Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County Corporate Board Member Danielle Hickox Moore is the granddaughter of the late Mary Alice Fortin, for whom the foundation is named.

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