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Give Back: Make a Rotary Gingerbread House

ginger3Whether you want to admit it or not the holidays are upon us. Now is the time for every man, woman or child to ask themselves, “What have I contributed to society this year?” From a financial perspective, be sure to make those last minute donations that will positively affect your bottom line. Also, clean out your closets and car garages and donate items in order to receive your itemized deduction.

Times are bad, this is true, but charitable organizations will accept the one thing you can provide for free; your time and talent. Be sure to give up just 8 hours of your time before the end of the year for someone else. Charitable giving is the one clear yard stick to measure an organized caring society.

ginger4There are many good holiday charity functions that you can be a part of in Jacksonville. Here is one dear to my heart. If you have never seen a Rotary Gingerbread House Extravaganza, be sure to mark your calendar for this year. You, your children and even your husband will be amazed at the delectable delights. Giant three and four foot gingerbread creations dazzle ones imagination.

Each year local businesses and citizens contribute their time, talent and treasure to this exhibit. What is it you ask? Well, it is an exhibit of forty to fifty giant gingerbread houses displayed in such an appealing way that you will say, WOW! For nearly 30 days beginning November 28th, the St. Andrews Church is turned into a shear eye popping candyland.

ginger5Since 2002, bus loads of children, mothers, fathers and grandmothers have traveled from all over the state to see this one-of-a-kind display. They make it their annual family or school tradition. Digital photography of all of the houses and decorated setting is acceptable, which makes for a perfect holiday family photograph.

You may have seen the event when it was exhibited at the Avenues Mall but for the last two years, it has been held inside the St. Andrews Church near the city’s new baseball park. The Jacksonville Historical Society has been generous enough to donate its space.

What can I do to help, you ask? Well, first of all you can attend the exhibit, tell your friends and bring lots of people with you to see it. Take plenty of photos, you will not be disappointed.


Secondly, you or your company could consider building a gingerbread house. All houses are entered into competition and your family or group could win a first place ribbon and hold bragging rights for the year. One thing is for sure, anyone can win. A little good inter-company competition never hurt anyone. Best of all, the money raised goes to good charities all over town. All of it!

Major beneficiaries include the Ronald McDonald House, Habijax, the Jacksonville Historical Society and Rotary Charities.


8 Responses »

  1. The major donors to this project over the years includes: W.W. Gay Electrical Contractors, Dolores Weaver and the Weaver Family Foundation, Everbank and Coastal Construction Products. Many more have made spectacular things happen.

  2. Visit Rotarycharity.org for more information.

  3. I have attended every year, and it is a tradition now for our families. Over the years, it has raised over $600,000 for charity. Five habijax houses have been built from the money raised. My children have volunteered for the setup as well as the ongoing exhibit of the houses. They have a wonderful time with their friends and giving back to the community. Don't miss it. The admission is $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children. Don't forget to bring the camera. HAVE FUN.

  4. A suggestion. I took my family just before the Jaguars game. Memorable family fun at a very reasonable price. And, it all goes to charity. Fabulous Rotary project.

  5. The houses are amazing, and it's interesting to see how so many different items of food can be utilized to make the houses. We have gone each year, and it is well worth the outing.

  6. I attend every year. Wouldn't miss it.

  7. The church is a beautiful setting for these gingerbread houses; however, I suggest a more convenient and safer environment. What do you think?

  8. Sounds like a wonderful outing for the family and co-workers. Keep us posted on the times that it will be open to the public. And, is there adequate parking at the St. Andrews Church? Is it open on Jaguars Game Days?