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Florida Dept. of Children, Families recognizes BICmd

By Staff Sgt. Timothy C. Hodge | | May 12, 2003

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The Florida Department of Children and Families, District 4, honored the Sailors of the Medical Management Section, Blount Island Command, during a ceremony held May 1at the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown Jacksonville.

According to Florida DCF officials, the ceremony was held to recognize BICmd's Navy volunteers for their significant contributions of time and effort to the Jacksonville community during the past year.

The mission of the Department of Children and Families is to work in partnership with local communities to ensure the safety, well-being and self-sufficiency for the children and families in need. The department's programs, combined with the assistance such as that provided by the volunteers of BICmd's Medical Management Section, give the disadvantaged families and foster children of Jacksonville several forms of functional assistance. Through these efforts, the department is able to fill many of the voids that these families experience. BICmd's ongoing relationship with the Florida DCF has just entered its fourth year.

"It is important that we let these needy and disadvantaged children know we care and that we are there to assist and provide them many of the things we take for granted," said Navy Lt. Herlena O. Washington, head of the Medical Management Section here. 

BICmd's volunteer work lasts throughout the year, spanning several programs and drives held annually by the Florida DCF. Over the past year, the command contributed approximately 120 hours of volunteer service to the Florida DCF's various programs. Most of these efforts benefit the foster children and families in lower income communities throughout Jacksonville and Duval County.

The first of the Florida DCF's three major programs is the Back to School Supplies Drive. Last year, the drive was held throughout July, and the Blount Island contingent assembled more than a 1,000 backpacks filled with back-to-school essentials that were given to foster children to prepare them for the coming school year.

Another major endeavor held each year is the Thanksgiving Basket Drive. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving 2002, the Medical Management team helped put together and distribute hundreds of Thanksgiving baskets that were given to foster families. 

The largest and last program of the year is the Christmas Toy Drive, which spans several weeks before Christmas and concludes the week of Christmas. During the 2002 drive, the Sailors worked with other volunteers to sort and put together thousands of toys that were distributed to underprivileged children in Jacksonville.

"Our work in the community shows the city of Jacksonville that we are involved and willing to continue helping to improve our community," said Washington. "Our investment of time and effort is not without benefit. Participation in these programs improves moral and gives the Sailors and Marines who take part a sense of community and responsibility outside the command."

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