J.P. Taravella Band Members Work Gift-wrapping Booth as Their Sole 2020 Fundraiser


Helen Colon and Alan Martinez wrap gifts at Coral Square Mall

By: Jen Russon

Due to COVID-19, the many fundraisers held by the J.P. Taravella High School band were either scaled back or canceled, making the success of their Coral Square Mall gift wrapping station of paramount importance.

In 2019, the high school signed a contract with Coral Square Mall to rent the booth for three Christmas seasons, not knowing at the time a pandemic would slow traffic.

Melissa Geiger, the vice president of fundraising, said the number of shoppers who need gift wrapping has started to pick up, but she worries it may not be enough.

The band needs to raise close to $6,000 to make its goal this year.

“Because of COVID, we had to cancel our annual concession at BB&T bank. We couldn’t sell candy bars. There was a sponsored run in January, which we postponed. I set up our gift wrapping booth every morning and feel nervous when we’re slow,” said Geiger.

She added the high school band now has a GoFundMe to pick up some of the slack from plans in the works, then scraped due to the virus.

Geiger said she is grateful for the 15 or so band students and their parents who have taken turns to man the gift-wrapping booth.

“A lot of our parents don’t want to risk participating in the fundraiser because of exposure, and I get that, I do,” said Geiger.

Because the Taravella band receives most of its funding through parent contributions and very little from the school district, quite a bit is needed to ensure the show must go on.

A donation made to the gift-wrappers at the Coral Square Mall goes toward things like purchasing music copyrights, hiring clinicians, repairing and purchasing instruments, and transporting the students and equipment to performances and competitions.

The J.P. Taravella gift-wrapping booth is located on the north side of the mall, near the Sbarro’s at the food court. Their hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Christmas Eve, J.P. Taravella students will be wrapping gifts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Coral Square Mall is located at 9469 W Atlantic Boulevard.

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