Feature Story and Photos by Larry H. Oskin
Christian Men in Action of Clermont hosted their 14th Annual Christmas Eve Party to provide toys to children who Santa thought needed something special. The event took place at Clermont Elementary School on Bloxam Avenue. With the challenges of COVID, this year’s collection was primarily sponsored by Christian Men in Action and the Clermont Police Department.
Christmas Toys & Holiday Treats: With an attempt to modify this event due to COVID they had hundreds of people on foot, as well as dozens of cars filled with families, come through the organized-lines to get toys, treats, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies and many extra gifts. Forty-five new and slightly used bicycles were given to good boys and girls via a free raffle. A DJ played festive Christmas music during the event.
Donors & Sponsors: The generous list of donors and volunteers included Christmas Across South Lake, Clermont Elementary School, DJ Dwayne Hodges, Give a Day Foundation, Kathy Weaver, Lincoln Park Rams Motorcycle Club, Mark 45 Barber Shop. New Jacob’s Chapel MBC, New Jacob’s Chapel MBC Family Matters, New Jacob’s Chapel MBC Senior Saints, Sherman & Celestine Wilder, The Home Depot and other individuals throughout the community. Christian Men in Action also receive funds from the local South Lake area churches to assist by collecting the food and toys from residents in the community.
As Mayor and President of Christian Men In Action, Tim Murry and his wife Kassier organized this event with a large team of sponsors, donors and volunteers. They worked hard for the past year to be able to have hundreds of new toys, bicycles and hot meals for everyone who gathered.
Led by Otis Taylor, the Give A Day Foundation was there with a large team of extra volunteers to help distribute the gifts. Clermont Police Chief Charles Broadway was there with a full team of police officers to personally help ensure safety and success for this big community event.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic and in many of the previous 10 years, most of the toys for this holiday party have been donated by the Clermont Police Department with our Lake County Sheriff’s Office support from their annual Battle of the Badges charity basketball game. Admission to those games was an unwrapped toy and all of the toys are donated to Christian Men in Action for distribution at this annual Christmas Eve Party for the children of the South Lake area.
Tim Murry notes, “We love helping our needy area kids with some free Christmas toys! We are truly thankful to all of our sponsors, donors and volunteers. Due to the many preliminary and on-site changes in our normal routine it was a little challenging this year. I am so pleased that we helped a lot of children to have a good Christmas. We really were very blessed this year to have so many toys donated for children, teens and adults. We want to do more to make it better every year. We will always need sponsors, new members and volunteers!”
Christian Men in Action: In 2005 Roderick Chapman, Jerome Godwin and Wilbert Montgomery came together to create a new community organization dedicated to improving life within our South Lake community. They decided upon the name Christian Men in Action. With the recruitment of Willie Montgomery, Pete Cole, Tim Murry, John Gibson, Michael Floyd and Cornelius Faulk, the group grew to eight members prior to the state of Florida official recognizing the organization that same year. In 2008, Christian Men in Action received an official 501C-3 not-for-profit status.
Membership Opportunities: Christian Men in Action membership consists of Christian men from various churches throughout the local community. They meet the second Wednesday each month at 7 PM at New Jacob Chapel Missionary Baptist Church located at 410 West Highway 50 in Clermont FL 34711. Christian Men in Action is not a representative of any one particular church. As a not-for-profit organization, Christian Men in Action depends upon support from a variety of local churches, businesses, organizations and individuals throughout our community. While membership of Christian Men in Action is open to men only, volunteers can be men, women, and youths who are at least 16 years of age.
Mission & Vision: Christian Men in Action is dedicated to improving family quality of life. They strive to make our South Lake communities better and safer through their active involvement in educational and social issues. Their vision remains to be recognized, respected and accepted as a valuable community resource.
For Membership Opportunities, Donations, Sponsorships & More Information: Contact Tim Murry at Christian Men In Action at: 352-217-1140 or mail to: PO Box 331, Minneola, FL 34755-0331. To learn more, visit their website: http://www.christianmeninaction.com/and like their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Christian-Men-in-Action-194066390786474/