‘Merry & Joy’: Helping lift spirits of Jacksonville mom of 7

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We are continuing our Positively Jax series “Merry & Joy” in the hopes of inspiring you to pay it forward this holiday season.

Mary Baer and Joy Purdy are making surprise deliveries around town to lift spirits, proving any gesture can go a long way. It all started with an anonymous donor wanting to share his homegrown fruits and vegetables with those in need. But those food donations grew to include turkeys and gifts from local law enforcement and firefighters, too.

Thursday, we showed you our delivery to Stacey Williams-Brown – a mother of three living at the Vista Landing Apartments near Jacksonville’s Grand Park community. She was so thankful to receive that gift of food and then was nearly in tears when the Jacksonville Firefighters Union gave her hundreds of dollars in gift cards.

While we were there, we met other families, including Dominique Mitchell. She’s a mom to seven children and was surprised with her gift of food. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighters also gave Mitchell new bed sheets from their nonprofit JW3 Missions and gift cards from the local firefighters’ union.

We didn’t realize just how special Mitchell is to her neighbors -- particularly to all the children in her apartment complex -- until we spoke to her friend.

“She did a really great, big event out here in October for the kids, for Halloween. It was huge!” exclaimed Mitchell’s friend, Unique Rouse. “She’s going to school and she’s halfway there and I’m so proud of her, ‘cause it’s pushed me. I started school, so it’s like she’s going to lead us there.”

Stay tuned to News4JAX as we continue to share more surprise deliveries to local families. And as you watch “Merry & Joy,” we hope you are inspired to pay it forward.

About the Authors:

At WJXT for a quarter of a century, Mary Baer anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news weekdays.

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.