Tallapoosa Mayor William “Pete” Bridges says he hopes to have more gifts than he can carry ... to mental health patients in the Northwest Georgia region, that is.
Once again, it’s time for local residents to come together with residents across the state to give to the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, which provides Christmas presents to mental health patients at hospitals and other facilities throughout Georgia.
“The staff at the regional hospitals tell us that without the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, many patients would go without any type of gift or recognition during the holidays,” Bridges said.
Oftentimes, mental health patients live their entire lives in these facilities without visits from family members or friends, or they are unable to take part in their family’s annual celebrations. However, the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade lets them know that they are not forgotten.
The Motorcade is sponsored each year by the Georgia Municipal Association. According to the GMA, the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade was started in 1958 by then-Georgia First Lady Betty Vandiver, wife of then-Governor Ernest Vandiver.
As part of the effort, local mayors are asked to get their residents involved in fundraising efforts for the more than 3,000 Georgia residents serviced by mental health facilities. Haralson County residents are asked to bring their donations to Tallapoosa City Hall, which will then be taken by Bridges himself to the Rome, Ga., Civic Center, which is serving as a distribution site.
“Last year, they told us we were the top giver for the area,” Bridges recalls. “My truck was absolutely full. I hope we can do that again this year. It’s a great thing to get involved with.”
The public is welcome to make cash donations. However, traditionally requested items include clothing, such as socks, underwear, house slippers, T-shirts, sweats, pajamas and bathrobes (in sizes XL through XXXXL for women and small for men); personal care items, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, brushes, cosmetics, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and lotion; and miscellaneous gifts, such as stationary, pens, pencils, tote bags, movies rated PG and G, hair accessories, Walkman radios, cassette tapes, board games, wallets, baseball caps, etc.
Bridges says despite the fact that the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital closed last year, the civic center will receive donations from the Motorcade and then distribute the gifts to former residents of the hospital.
“These gifts will still go to patients in our region,” Bridges said. “When the hospital closed, the patients were sent to other facilities in the region that had space. So the gifts will still get to the same people.”
Anyone can make donations at City Hall during regular business hours until Dec. 10. Please bring new, unwrapped gifts. For more information, call City Hall at 770-574-2345.