Gordon Hospital EMS Toy Drive Planned
(Calhoun, Ga) — A tradition of giving continues in Gordon County and this year’s effort may be the most important one of all.
For the past 11 years, Gordon Hospital’s Emergency Medical Services staff has collected toys for underprivileged children in Gordon County through “Help Make a Kid Smile.” With the current state of the economy, EMS officials are certain that the need for toys will be even greater this year.
“This year has been tough financially for a lot of Calhoun and Gordon County families,” said Courtney Taylor, director of Gordon Hospital EMS. “With Christmas just around the corner, it’s just going to get tougher so we plan to work extra hard this year to ensure a merry Christmas for as many Calhoun and Gordon County children as possible.”
Last year’s drive collected more than $13,000 worth of new toys. This year’s goal is $15,000.
“Paramedics, emergency medial technicians, and others will be volunteering their time collecting new toys at the entrances of Calhoun’s Wal-Mart Supercenter on Highway 53 and at KB Toys, located in the Prime Outlet Mall off Belwood Road,” Taylor said. “We’ll be asking shoppers to buy an extra toy while they’re shopping and then donate it to the drive.”
The first drive will be held on Friday, Nov. 28 through Sunday, Nov. 30. The next two drives, planned for Friday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 7, and Friday, Dec. 12, will be assisted by choral groups from Calhoun and Gordon County schools. Plans are in the making for once again broadcasting some of the performances on the Christmas Eve production of “Night Watch for Santa” on Comcast Cable Channel 3.
“Not only do the student performances help everyone get into the Christmas spirit, but they also set an incredible example for all of us,” Taylor explained. “They, along with their directors, bus drivers, and other volunteers are donating their time and talents to help children in need. We are so thankful for them.”
All toys collected through the annual drive will be given to the Voluntary Action Center (VAC) to distribute to qualifying families. Families that are experiencing extreme financial hardships and wish to apply for assistance should contact the Voluntary Action Center by calling 706-629-7283.
“Last year our numbers doubled,” said Erin Conaway, executive director of the VAC, “and this year we’re expecting 30 percent over last year.”
Approximately 850 people were served at the VAC last year through the Christmas program, which includes holiday adoptions of children and teens.
“Each year local residents, churches and civic groups ‘adopt’ a child at Christmastime by purchasing and donating items from the child’s wish list,” Conaway explained. “Our hardest ones to get adopted are the teenagers so we’re making a special effort to get this age group helped this year as well as our younger ones.”
Anyone wishing to help distribute the toys this year or to “adopt” a child, should contact Conaway at 706-629-7283.
“The Voluntary Action Center does an amazing job helping local families during difficult times,” said Vickie Spence, executive director of the United Way of Gordon County. “We encourage everyone who can to donate a new toy to this very worthy cause.”
Every toy donated through the EMS toy drive will remain in Gordon County and will be given to the many needy children who otherwise would not be smiling on Christmas morning, Taylor said.
“We’re asking everyone to open their heart this holiday season and do something special for the children of this community who need our assistance,” he added. “Help us ‘Make a Kid Smile’ this Christmas.”
Choral Performance Schedule
Friday, Dec. 5
Calhoun Wal-Mart Supercenter