There’s plenty of Christmas activities in town

Published 8:21 am Friday, December 21, 2012

This year will mark the fifth Christmas season my family and I have spent in Bainbridge since we chose to make this area our home. Over the past five years, there are many reasons why Decatur County has proven to be a special place, but the generosity, kindness, and authentic care for others shown by this community recently tops them all.

Due to the work of countless volunteers and the caring spirit of the many people who were able to donate toys or money, Christmas for hundreds of people in our community will be a little more enjoyable than it otherwise might have been.

Three different programs — Secret Santa, Toys for Tots, and Shop with a Cop —  raised money, donated gifts, and provided food to needy families throughout the county.

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The Secret Santa program is a partnership between Live 101.9 radio station, Decatur Community Cares, and Decatur County Family Connection. My friends Kevin Dowdy, owner of Live 101.9, Ronnie Burke, Family Connection coordinator, and Allison Harrell, chairperson of the Family Connection Board of Directors were the driving forces behind the huge success of the program this year.

Now each of those three people would probably rather me not mention them by name, but they deserve kudos for the long list of good things they do for the good of our community. But, by no means could they do it alone. Countless volunteers and business partners offered much needed support to put smiles on the faces of the children who benefited from the hard work.

The Toys for Tots program gathered an unbelievable 8,126 toys. This program is another example of several fine groups partnering to accomplish a positive result.

The Bainbridge Salvation Army, Bainbridge High School Junior ROTC, Wal-Mart, Walter Farms, retired Georgia Power employees, retired teachers, and Bainbridge Tennis Center all contributed to such an awesome result. 8,000 toys! Think about how much better Christmas will be for some children due to the work of these groups.

With the Shop with a Cop program, 11 children from three different families were able to purchase necessities and food for the holiday season. In a neat twist, Bainbridge Public Safety officers actually helped with the shopping. City of Bainbridge employees and the proceeds from a Yeti cooler raffle raised more than $3,300, money that was spent to help these less fortunate families have a more enjoyable holiday season.

These three programs were the conduits to the needy families, but none of these programs would have been successful without you — the folks in our community who always answer the bell when needed. For that, thank you.

I hope to see you on the Square on Christmas Eve at 6 p.m., for the best and most unique tradition of any small town in America. Please join us for the traditional Christmas caroling, with music from the Bainbridge Community Band. The program is only 30 minutes and you can then move on to your own Christmas Eve activities.

If not, then have a safe, blessed, and Merry Christmas from my family — Stephanie, McKenzie, and Judson — and The Post-Searchlight family.