Updated: May 4
By Elizabeth Matthews
Front Porch Beads began as an effort to bring a family together and has become a way to bring a community together, literally gathering on a front porch.
Frances Peters’ home has provided that front porch since 2018, when a small group of Amelia Park neighbors got together for a community beading session. Frances got the idea seeing the quiet enjoyment beading gave her extended family back in the U.K.
An idea was sparked, and she brought it home to Amelia Island as a small neighborhood event making bracelets to sell and distributing the proceeds to charity.
Frances persuaded Story & Song Neighborhood Bookstore Bistro to sell the wares from a small window box, and they’ve become so popular that a thousand unique hand-beaded bracelets have been sold.
As the funds rolled in, the ideas and suggestions about where to give the proceeds also rolled in. Unlike other charitable organizations, the beaders don’t work directly with the public. But they have found a way to reach those in need by choosing local charities with a high pass-through rate of donations to the population served.
Today, Front Porch Beads gives thousands of dollars every year to local philanthropic groups. They have raised $40,000 since 2018 and given every penny of it away. Recent donations have been made to Gracie’s Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels.
Ten people casually bead on Fridays at Frances’ porch, and every Wednesday weekly beading sessions are held at the Fernandina Beach Library. The Wednesday sessions are open to the public and accommodate all ages and skill levels.
Front Porch Beads has displayed at the triennial Quilt Show, the Green Turtle Jam, Fernandina Beach Library’s spring festival and will be selling at the Wild Amelia Nature Festival in May.
As the group has grown, so has its inventory and reach. The jewelry is no longer exclusivly bracelets. Today, necklaces, earrings and even mask keepers round out the collection. Each item is still hand-crafted by the community for the community.
Front Porch Beads is a 501(c)(3) charity with no overhead and no employees — just volunteers who give freely of their time and energy to make a big difference in a small community. They would love to see the movement grow and spread to the next generation of beaders.
To learn more about Front Porch Beads, visit their website or come out to join them for beading at the Fernandina Beach Library, 25 N. Fourth St. every Wednesday from 1-4 p.m.
Fernandina Observer Daily News Article
POSTED ON APRIL 30, 2023