BY KARIN DAVIS-THOMPSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — Families in St. Petersburg had a brighter holiday season thanks to the generosity of a local law firm.
James Flynn and the Flynn Law Firm gave 50 needy families a $100 Visa gift card in the hopes of lifting a bit of their financial burden during Christmas. The donations, totaling $5,000, are a part of a yearly season of giving Flynn sponsors each year.
December 2019 was the fifth year the firm’s founding attorney has donated to families for Christmas, and the seventh year he has purchased turkeys and other food items for families during Thanksgiving.
Jeffery Copeland, who assists in organizing the events, said Flynn’s generosity is always an inspiration, and he loves seeing the joy the donations bring the families.
“He is a genuine person who does this from the heart,” Copeland said.
Each year the firm, with an office on Central Avenue, partners with the St. Petersburg Police Department and its community policing unit to find families in need for Christmas. Throughout the year, as officers come into contact with families who may need assistance, they keep their names and provide their information to Flynn when it’s time to distribute the gift cards.
“The officers get to know the families because they interact with them throughout the year,” Copeland said. “So they know who needs help the most.”
Partnerships are at the heart of what makes each giveaway opportunity successful. For the past seven years, Flynn and his firm have given away thousands of turkeys in November, along with other food items to families in need.
Working with local churches, names are provided for families in need. Copeland said the list has grown over the years, but they always make sure that everyone receives assistance. He said the event is more than just giving out food, it’s also a family festival too.
“We have games for kids, a petting zoo, horseback riding, slides – all sorts of activities,” Copeland explained. “We love to watch the kids, and their parents interact and have fun.”
This year’s event was held on 18th Avenue and 22nd Street South, where the Old Sweet Bay once stood. Along with the recipients whose names were given to Flynn, the team makes sure they can accommodate some who may stop by hoping for assistance.
“Everyone whose name is on the list gets a turkey, and we bring extra for people who hear about it and come for help, Copeland said.
Flynn, a graduate of Georgia Southern University, received his Bachelor of Arts in English and completed his Juris Doctorate from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.
Before starting the firm, he served as an assistant state attorney in Pinellas County. The firm’s areas of practice include auto accidents, personal injury, and medical malpractice.
Copeland said as a St. Pete native, he is excited to be affiliated with Flynn and his law firm and to have the opportunity to organize events with the group that make life better for others in his home town.
“It’s fulfilling to be a part of something great,” he said.”People see you as someone who wants to help.”