Posted by: vote4claxton | September 11, 2008

OPERATION GIVE BACK – far rockaway

Operation Give Back’ Has Become A Family Affair For Rockaway

Eddie Jackson, left, the founder of Operation Give Back; his sister India, the organization’s president; and City Council candidate and supporter from 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care, Marq Claxton at the August 2 event in O’Donohue Park.

It started with a family get-together four years ago and has developed into a program that emphasizes giving back to the community.

Operation Give Back, which promotes education and health awareness, is an outgrowth of the annual Family Day that has taken place the last four years at O’Donohue Park in Far Rockaway.

“It started as a small family function and each year it kept growing and growing and I decided I have to have a separate organization,” said Eddie Jackson, whose annual family cookouts spawned Operation Give Back.

Jackson, the CEO of E.A.J. Entertainment, started Family Day with the sponsorship of Councilman James Sanders Jr. and his own E.A.J. Entertainment. Eventually Jackson took over the reins of the event and realized that one group was needed to run the community activities. It was then that he founded Operation Give Back.

The Jackson family get-together at this year’s annual Family Day at O’Donohue Park last month. It was through their summer reunions that Operation Give Back was born.

“It is based on giving back to the community,” said Jackson, who added that the need to give back is “his calling from a higher being.”

The organization is a family affair. Jackson says he and family members discuss issues relating to Operation Give Back and make decisions together. Jackson’s niece, India Jackson, is the organization’s president and his sister, Pastor Annette Hamilton, is an organizer.

“They are fully 120 percent participating,” said Jackson.

In addition to his family, Jackson hopes to get local politicians and businesses involved in his endeavor. In his work to get sponsorship for Family Day, he said, most of the local businesses to which he went for donations were not supportive.

Except for some of the local Far Rockaway supermarkets, it was places that included Goody’s near Beach 73 Street, Costco, and Stop and Shop in Lawrence that came through when he was setting up the annual event.

“It seems like the people outside the neighborhood support [the area], not inside,” said Jackson.

He added that, “I think its wrong, and you can quote that. I think that people who we support everyday should support, not just my organization, but the organizations that’s giving back to the community. Not just take.”

Operation Give Back is still in its infancy. Once the organization, which is currently in the process of being certified as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, is in full swing, Jackson hopes to set up various programs for the community. Because his niece is a nurse, some of those programs, he said, will be health related centering on such issues as AIDS awareness. Jackson says he hopes to have a toy drive this December and a scholarship dinner next year.

“I know there’s a lot of organizations out there,” said Jackson. “We need more grassroots programs that’s really reaching out to the community. That’s what I want to do – reach out. Like I’m knocking on doors.”

Jackson said his, and the organization’s, slogan is “If you’re not giving, you’re not living.”

Jackson, 48, was born and raised in Redfern. He worked as a DJ for more than 30 years before he retired in 2000 and started E.A.J. Entertainment.

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