Christmas in July + Tampa Jeep Krewe = Miles of Smiles

For the Tampa Jeep Krewe, the spirit of giving is a year-round exercise that ends with the largest event they participate in: Christmas in July at the BayCare St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. This year’s event is set to take place on Friday, July 27, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is bound to be fun energy and excitement surrounding this heartwarming event, where adults and kids alike can participate in making children who are in serious need for a pick-me-up that much more optimistic about healing.

“The hospital is so grateful. The toys give the kids a break from the struggle and stress of dealing with their illness,” says Shelley Ziegler, a TJK member and charity lead for the event. This is the fifth year TJK will be participating in Christmas in July’s uplifting spirit alongside Tampa residents, Jeepers and local businesses. Last year’s total donation from TJK was roughly $24,000, setting the 2018 TJK donation goal at $30,000. “We usually pick four or five charities to support throughout the year. This is the biggest.”

As a five-year member of TJK and part of the group’s events committee, she understood the charity wanted to partner up with community-focused groups. TJK was the perfect fit, she says, because you can’t go wrong with a group who is known to be generous, fun and able to bring the show. They plan to pack up their best-looking Jeeps to deliver their bounty of donated toys they have been collecting for a morning drop the day of the event.

Get Involved

Ziegler explains that, leading up to day of the event, the group organizes various toy drives amongst its membership. One can participate with this event in many ways. You can simply purchase a toy — keeping in mind the hospital’s request for nonviolent and easily sanitized items — and donate it to TJK. Cash donations and the proceeds from three months’ worth of events and raffles, including a mini-Jeep worth $3,500 and a heavy-duty winch will fund a shopping spree for durable “experience” items such as tablet computers and gaming consoles.

Drop boxes are installed and monitored by members at local business, office buildings and restaurants. They also host weekly or semi-monthly meetups such as happy hours and beach days. TJK’s main charity drive event will be their July social on Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 81Bay Brewing Co. on West Gandy Boulevard in Tampa.

Nuts and Bolts

TJK Charity Drive:
• When: Saturday, July 14, 2018,
from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Where: 81Bay Brewing Co.,
4465 W Gandy Blvd 33611

Christmas in July:
• When: Friday, July 27, 2018,
from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Where: BayCare St. Joseph’s Children’s
Hospital, 3001 W MLK Jr Blvd 33607
• Questions: Child Life department at
(813) 554-8155, ext. 7

New and returning donors and volunteers can keep up by finding Tampa Jeep Krewe on Facebook and checking in on the Jeepin’ Central Florida website. For any questions or clarity on the greatest needs of BayCare Children’s Hospital, call the Child Life department at (813) 554-8155, ext. 7.

“It is a family-friendly event. We will have food trucks, activities for the kids and lots of Jeeps,” Ziegler says. “We’ll also have great raffles and a 50/50 drawing with all the proceeds going to Christmas in July!”

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