Monday, December 29, 2008

Big Brothers Big Sisters Conducts National Search For America's Big Citizen of the Year

/PRNewswire/ -- Big Brothers Big Sisters is conducting a nationwide search for a "Big"-hearted American who has earned the title, America's Big Citizen of the Year. Big Brothers Big Sisters is introducing the Big Citizen of the Year award in recognition of National Mentoring Month, celebrated in January.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a lead partner in National Mentoring Month, spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The 2009 theme is "Expand Your Universe: Mentor a Child." Mentoring Month includes Thank Your Mentor Day, which in 2009 is January 22.

America's Big Citizen of the Year is Big Brothers Big Sisters' way of expanding its universe, illustrating that changing how our children grow up in America is a citizens' movement that offers opportunities for everyone to get involved.

America's Big Citizen of the Year will be nominated and selected by the public via BigBrothersBigSisters.org. Nominations will come from Americans throughout the country in the form of a 50-100 word description of how a citizen's deeds and actions have made a positive impact on the lives of at-risk children. The winner will be the nominee who receives the most on-line votes.

"America's Big Citizen of the Year is someone who has found a way to make a big difference in the lives of vulnerable children," said Judy Vredenburgh, president and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. "America's Big Citizen of the Year will be a volunteer, fundraiser, community advocate, police officer, teacher, great neighbor, activist, artist, mentor, Big Brother or Big Sister - an individual whose big acts of kindness, generosity, support and/or selflessness have made huge differences in the lives of at-risk children."

The new award comes as Big Brothers Big Sisters' leaders, donors, professional support staff and volunteers see first-hand the urgent need for what mentoring achieves and how important it is in communities throughout America. With growing economic pressures in families across the country, the need to encourage children to be better students and citizens has perhaps never been greater. Research finds vulnerable or at-risk children who have Big Brothers and Big Sisters are more likely than their peers to succeed in school, behave non-violently and avoid involvement with drugs and other illegal activities. The Big Citizen of the Year award recognizes that successful mentoring takes many supportive people -- families, teachers, religious leaders, coaches, neighbors, philanthropists and so many others.

To nominate someone you know for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Citizen of the Year Award, go to BigBrothersBigSisters.org. Submissions will be posted on the website through the month of January, during which time the public can vote for the citizen they believe is worthy of the award. The Big Celebrity dinner will take place in Miami in June, during Big Brothers Big Sisters' national conference.

Learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters and how you can change how our children grow up in America by visiting BigBrothersBigSisters.org.

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New Social Web Site Helps People Make Selfless New Year's Resolutions and Track Them Online

/PRNewswire/ -- Every year, millions of people make resolutions to improve their lives. What would happen if -- in addition to losing weight, getting a better job or having a better love life -- everyone made at least one resolution to help others?

As many Americans prepare to confront serious economic and social challenges in 2009, Families First -- the largest and leading non-profit family service agency in Georgia -- is launching the I Am The Solution initiative today with this question in mind, and with a vision to put solutions back on the map.

The I Am The Solution initiative is challenging people to make at least one selfless resolution-to volunteer, give money, refer people to needed services, or acknowledge a personal need for help. And, because resolutions are easy to make but often difficult to keep, the initiative hinges on an interactive, online community -- www.iam-thesolution.org -- where people can stay accountable by creating profiles, setting deadlines, tracking their progress and engaging with others who are making similar resolutions.

Several notable figures have joined the movement, including Atlanta Falcons Linebacker Keith Brooking, hip hop celebrity Big Boi, educator and best-selling author Ron Clark, Atlanta Braves Outfielder Jeff Francoeur, Collective Soul bandmates Ed & Dean Roland and HGTV Deserving Design host Vern Yip, to name a few. These are some of the figures featured in an online video that challenges others to be a part of big solutions by making individual selfless resolutions.

"As our nation is dealing with precedent-setting challenges and transitioning into a new year, with a new presidential administration, we realized there's no better time than now to empower individuals to focus on solutions," said Pat Showell, president & CEO of Families First.

Families First will continue promoting the initiative throughout 2009 -- profiling and awarding individuals who make and keep empowering resolutions, and encouraging individuals to make and keep resolutions throughout the year.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Braves Unveil Plans for Inaugural Diamond Gala to Benefit the Atlanta Braves Foundation

The Atlanta Braves Foundation's inaugural Diamond Gala, a star-studded night of casino games, entertainment, and silent and live auctions, alongside Braves players, coaches, and alumni, is set for Friday, January 23rd at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead. All proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Braves Foundation and help fund the Foundation's community grants program.

Diamond Gala ticket packages include Braves Bucks that can be used to play casino games such as Black Jack, Roulet, Craps, Texas Hold-Em Poker, and Slots. Guests will play alongside Braves players, coaches, and alumni who will be in attendance interacting with fans throughout the evening.

Guests will also have the opportunity to play games to win diamond jewelry and many other valuable prizes, all to help raise funds and benefit the Atlanta Braves Foundation.
To purchase tickets to the Braves Foundation's inaugural Diamond Gala go to www.braves.com/gala or call 404-614-1512.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Clayton State University Colleges Sponsor Local Families in Need

Amidst the hustle and bustle of final exams and graduation, Clayton State University’s College of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences (CIMS) and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) have opened their hearts to the Angel Tree, sponsored by the Salvation Army.

“This is our ninth year participating with the Angel Tree program. In the past we have worked to sponsor 10 to 14 children, but this year we issued a challenge to sponsor 20 children. Each year we always feel like we can help more and we were glad to take on more this year,” says Dr. Mary Hudachek-Buswell, assistant professor of Mathematics in CIMS.

The faculty and staff of CIMS and CAS worked with Captain Candace Marquez of the Jonesboro chapter of the Salvation Army to coordinate their efforts. Hudachek-Buswell notes there are 1,000 families to help in Clayton, Fayette and Henry counties.

The Kohl’s department store, located in Fayetteville, Ga., generously supports this effort and assists the “super shopper” for CIMS and CAS with the Angel Tree shopping.

“Kathy Kroll at Kohl’s really helps us out every year. They allow us to start holding clothes and toys up to week before our purchase. They also provide us with business partner coupons that really allow us to maximize our money,” says Hudachek-Buswell.

This community effort continues to reach out to faculty and staff that are no longer with Clayton State.

“We continue to have former colleagues donate to our Angel Tree efforts. It’s wonderful that this project has touched many hearts that they are still drawn to donate,” says Hudachek-Buswell.

After the secret “super shopper” spent up to one hour of shopping for each child, totaling near 20 hours of shopping, all the items were carefully sorted for each child. All the presents are delivered to the Salvation Army who wrap and deliver the gifts to the parents.

“We plan to take on more families next year and fulfill more wishes,” says Hudachek-Buswell.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Marine Vows Mission Success for Toys for Tots, Despite Economic Woes

Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Azemar King saw how the nation swept in to help him and his fellow New Orleanians when Hurricane Katrina devastated their city in 2005.

So this year, he's convinced the American public will step in during the last few days before Christmas to ensure the Marine Corps Reserve's annual Toys for Tots drive doesn't leave a single needy child empty-handed.

King, national coordinator for the program at Marine Forces Reserve headquarters in New Orleans, concedes that a dire economy has caused donations to drop, even as need increases.

"Everybody is hurting this year, but they are still generous and doing what they can across the board," he said. "But there's a big gap there to fill."

Retired Marine Corps Maj. Bill Grein, vice president for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation that manages the program's fund- and toy-raising activities and supplements local collection efforts, said this year is tougher than most.

Fewer toys are being dropped off at most of the 600-plus collection sites around the country. Private cash donations have decreased locally as well, and corporate cash donations to the Toys for Tots Foundation are down 12 to 15 percent from last year, Grein said.

The good news, he said, is that corporate toy donations are keeping pace with last year's levels, and several corporations have made "great donations" to help fill the shortfall. Hasbro Inc., JAKKS Pacific Inc., Toys"R"Us Inc., Best Buy, The UPS Store and Build-a-Bear Workshop Inc. all made big toy donations, he said.

With less than a week to Christmas, and as more people turn to the Toys for Tots drive this year for help, Grein expressed hope that the program can keep pace with demand.

Last year, Toys for Tots distributed 16.7 million toys to 7.5 million children. But with 13 million U.S. children at or below the poverty level, Grein said that "leaves a lot still to be reached."

At the Marine Corps Reserve headquarters, King refuses to believe this year's campaign will fall short.

"We're very confident that we are going to have mission accomplishment. That's always first for the Marine Corps," he said. "In my heart of hearts, I hope and I believe that this week, some angel is going to call the foundation" and make a big donation.

Meanwhile, King is convinced that as toy shortages get more publicity, "people are going to step up" and dig a little deeper into their pockets to help.

King experienced that kind of generosity firsthand when he and his fellow New Orleans residents were displaced following Hurricane Katrina.

"I've seen what people will do when they see a need," he said. "And I think the American public is going to rally and do their part between now and Christmas and get us the toys or the money so we can change that into a toy and make sure that every child gets a toy for Christmas."

Marine Corps Reserve volunteers are busy working toward that goal as they get donated toys to charitable groups across the country. With some of the regular reserve volunteers serving combat deployments, active-duty Marines have volunteered to serve as reinforcements, King said.

In addition, veteran Marines and other community members are serving as Santa's helpers, collecting and distributing toys on behalf of the program.

This year marks the 60 anniversary of the nationwide Toys for Tots program. The program got its start in 1947 as a much smaller effort when Marine Corps Maj. Bill Hendricks and a group of fellow Marine Corps reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children.

The pilot project proved so successful that the Marine Corps adopted the program in 1948, expanding it into a nationwide campaign. Since then, Marines have distributed more than 370 million toys to more than 173 needy children through Toys for Tots.

King called Toys for Tots a great outreach effort that connects the Marine Corps with communities across the country. "This is that personal touch that the Marine Corps gives back to the community that has allowed us to build such a great repertoire and reputation with the American people," he said.

"They love the Marine Corps," he continued. "We win wars and we have this great program that touches the lives of millions."

But King said he and his fellow Marines are touched personally by the program as well.

"Volunteers come in and they give and they give and they give. And it is a thankless job until you see that child receive that toy, and then it all makes sense," he said. "Seeing the eyes and the reaction of those kids -- you just can't put a price tag on it.

"And that's why you come back year after year to give this program 110 percent, and why Toys for Tots has become as successful as it is," King said. "It is the purest form of charity."

Information about where to request or drop off toys and how to make an online donation is available on the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Web site.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Most Americans Report Donating to Charity in 2008




Despite the current economic climate, 75% of Americans say they have donated money to a charitable cause within the past 12 months and 59% say they have donated money to a religious organization.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Emory Makes $20 Million Contribution to Grady

Emory University has agreed to credit Grady Health System with $20 million of the $62 million debt that Grady owed the University as of January 1, 2008.

The voluntary contribution is Emory’s commitment to the business community’s current philanthropic campaign for Grady, which plays a vital role for all of Georgia as the Atlanta metro region’s only Trauma I center and the state’s largest indigent care hospital.

“This is real money, earned by real faculty physicians working under the terms of a mutually agreed upon contract with the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority,” says Thomas J. Lawley, MD, dean of the School of Medicine.

“Although it comes at a time of significant budgetary constraint for the School of Medicine, we also know that shared sacrifice from all of the Atlanta health care community will be required if Grady is to achieve our common goal of not only surviving, but thriving,” says Lawley.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research and health care. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.
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Fredericka Roper of Atlanta Honored as 'Healthy Hero' By the AMERIGROUP Foundation

The AMERIGROUP Foundation announced today that it is honoring Fredericka Roper, a Community Outreach worker at West End Medical Centers, by designating her a "Healthy Hero."

Ms. Roper has contributed significantly to the health and well-being of Atlanta's financially vulnerable citizens through years of extensive neighborhood involvement. For the past three years, she has worked with West End Medical Centers, a federally funded community health center with five locations in Fulton and Cobb counties. Ms. Roper serves as community liaison for West End clinics located in Atlanta public housing developments including Bowen Homes and Herndon Homes.

"Fredericka Roper is a tireless advocate for the children and families of Atlanta," said John E. Littel, Chairman of the AMERIGROUP Foundation. "She connects people to healthcare and a wide range of services that make their lives better. We at AMERIGROUP share her sense of mission and admire her commitment and her success."

The AMERIGROUP Foundation periodically honors "Healthy Heroes" who have made a significant difference in the communities served by its corporate underwriter, AMERIGROUP Corporation, which administers publicly funded healthcare programs such as Medicaid and Medicare for state and federal governments. AMERIGROUP Community Care of Georgia brings healthcare services to about 201,000 people enrolled in Medicaid in Georgia.

To honor Ms. Roper's service, the Foundation will present a $1,000 contribution to a charity she has selected, the March of Dimes.

"We join AMERIGROUP in recognizing the exemplary work performed by our committed staff member, Fredericka Roper," said Barbara Means-Cheely, director of social services at West End Medical Clinic. "Ms. Roper is committed to serving the poor, the disadvantaged and the underserved. She serves with compassion and love. We applaud her outstanding service and work."

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

UPS Once Again Leads Nation in United Way Donations

(BUSINESS WIRE)--For the ninth consecutive year, UPS (NYSE:UPS) and its employees have led the nation in supporting the annual United Way campaign.

With more than 249,000 individuals participating, UPS employees and retirees pledged more than $53 million to United Way during this year’s campaign, more than any other participating company. UPS’s matching contribution, to be determined early next year by The UPS Foundation, is expected to push UPS’s total donation for 2008 over $60 million.

Last year, UPS’s total contribution to United Way after calculating the company’s match totaled $60.8 million. Since 1982, including this year’s pledges, UPS and its employees have donated an astonishing $924 million.

“Year after year, UPS continues to raise the bar in terms of generosity and an unwavering commitment to community,” said Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way of America. “At a time when the need around the world, and at home, has never been more compelling, UPS and its employees responded and are changing lives. We couldn’t be more proud of our partnership with UPS and of the opportunities we’re creating together for a better life and brighter future for everyone.”

In addition to financial contributions, UPS employees and their families also volunteered their time and talents to their communities, donating more than 900,000 hours of time through Global Volunteer Month and UPS’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. The latter is a company-wide volunteer initiative that matches employees and their families with volunteer opportunities based on their interests, skills and availability. UPS also donates loaned executives to several local United Way affiliates across the country.

“Even in this tough economy, the spirit of giving is alive and well at UPS,” said Scott Davis, the company’s chairman and CEO. “The support of our employees is unwavering because we all recognize that the United Way’s efforts to improve lives and communities are more important than ever.”

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Celebrity Cook Paula Deen and Smithfield Foods Helping Hungry Homes(TM) Come to Aid of Savannah Food Bank for Second Time This Year

/PRNewswire/ -- With the volatility of the country's economy and the growing population of the unemployed, more people than ever are turning to food banks to help feed their families. For the second time in less than a year, Smithfield Foods and celebrity cook Paula Deen came to the assistance of America's Second Harvest in Deen's hometown of Savannah with a delivery of 25,000 pounds of meat as part of their Helping Hungry Homes(TM) initiative. The donation equates to 100,000 servings of much-needed protein for hungry families.

"Americans today are facing the greatest challenges with this recession," said Deen. "I am grateful that my partners, Smithfield Foods, share my passion to help those who are struggling to feed their families. We want to do what we can to make things better for those who are going through hard times."

Accompanied by her husband Michael Groover and sons Bobby and Jamie, Deen continued to remark, "We are all aware that this will be a difficult holiday season for many families. It is our obligation to do whatever we can to help families with the basics like getting food on the table."

When added to a similar donation Smithfield Foods made in January of this year, Helping Hungry Homes(TM) has now donated nearly 70,000 pounds of meat to the America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia. "Our communities have been hard hit with the downturn of the economy," said Mary Crouch, executive director of America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia. "With that said, this makes the holidays even tougher especially when you are having trouble feeding your family. The delivery of this generous donation could not have come at a better time. We are so grateful for the efforts of Smithfield Foods and our Savannah neighbor Paula Deen for coming through with this much needed delivery of meat."

Smithfield Foods' Helping Hungry Homes(TM) initiative was established to help ensure that American families in need do not go hungry. Smithfield Foods and its independent operating companies have a long history of stocking food banks, supporting after-school nutrition programs and providing food relief in the wake of natural disasters. Since January, Smithfield Foods and Paula Deen distributed over 400,000 pounds of meat products to cities throughout the United States with an estimated retail value of over $1.2 million.

"During tight economic times, those who have the least oftentimes suffer more," said C. Larry Pope, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smithfield Foods. "We welcome this opportunity to renew our commitment to feeding families with this Helping Hungry Homes donation."

Mary Crouch agreed and replied, "Meat donations are greatly needed for their nutritional value but are often the hardest to come by, making this donation all the more critical for our community. This donation is the holiday spirit we all need."

America's Second Harvest is the nation's largest hunger-relief organization with 205 food bank members nationwide.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rotary Club of Peachtree City Honors 2008 Police Officer of the Year

Corporal James “Jay” Hughes, was honored as the 2008 Peachtree City Rotary Club Officer of the Year, Saturday evening at a festive banquet.

Each year the Rotary Club of Peachtree City selects an outstanding officer for this distiguished award.

Corporal Hughes was selected for this award because he has proven himself a positive role model for others to follow. He is the type of police officer that others choose to emulate and has been instrumental in helping launch the careers of several officers under the police department’s field training program.

Hughes has a unique ability to balance the needs of the community with enforcement responsibilities. He has earned a distinct level of respect from his peers, supervisors and commanders alike, as well as the civilian members of the police department. Corporal Hughes takes a hands-on approach when training others, which is a quality that many young officers seem to admirer. His leadership, professionalism, and commitment to team building is unquestionable. He has had a tremendous impact on the police department’s success as an organization and the ability to achieve its mission.

The Peachtree City Rotary Club Officer of the Year award recipient has provided an excellent service to the citizens of Peachtree City for over ten years. Similar to the Rotarians motto “Service above Self”, this officer has demonstrated commitment, consistency, loyalty and dedication in serving and protecting the citizens of Peachtree City.

Corporal Hughes grew up in Peachtree City, is a graduate of McIntosh High School and attended Columbus State University, receiving a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. He began his employment with the police department in 1997 and was advanced to Corporal in January 2000. Among a lengthy list of basic training courses, he excels as one of the police departments several Accident Re-constructionists.

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Prellberg Selected as Kiwanian of the Year, Peachtree City

Marv Prellberg was selected as the Kiwanian of the Year for 2007-08 by the 90-member Kiwanis Club of Peachtree City at a recent awards dinner. He has been an active member of the club since 1995.
Marv is the chair of the Service Leadership Committee, member of the club’s Board of Directors and the club advisor for the Key Club of Starr’s Mill High School. He was also instrumental in getting a K-Kids Club started at Peeples Elementary and a Builder’s Club at Booth Middle School.
Pictured from the left is Cliff Schmidt – Club President, Greg Hall – Past Lt. Governor, Nancy Walden – Georgia District Kiwanis President-Elect, and Marv Prellberg.
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Cook Your Way to Good Karma

When you give to others, you get so much in return. Here’s a great way for people to bake their way to a new kitchen this holiday season, which includes a $5000 donation to a charity to help end hunger. This is incredibly timely given reports of a drop in donations to food pantries across the country. Here’s what’s up…

Until December 31, 2008, the Pillsbury® Make America Sweeter contest invites consumers to share how they make things a little sweeter with Pillsbury Cake, Brownies, Quickbread, Frostings, or Flours. The winner will receive a $5,000 kitchen makeover and runners-up will receive products from KitchenAid® and Pillsbury. Plus, a $5,000 donation will be made to Feeding AmericaTM to help end hunger in the country.

How To Enter the Pillsbury Make America Sweeter Contest

Submit an essay on how you make America sweeter with Pillsbury baking products (Cake, Brownies, Quick Bread, Frostings, or Flours) – like bringing treats to seniors or hosting a bake sale at your house of worship

Include a photo or short video illustrating your sweet gesture

Entries can be submitted online at www.pillsburybaking.com/campaign or by mail to Pillsbury Make America Sweeter Contest, P.O. Box 8501, Prospect Hts., IL 60070.
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Santa Hosts Piedmont Mountainside Hospital's Love Light Ceremony

More than 75 area residents welcomed Santa to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital's (PMH) annual Love Light Tree Ceremony. PMH Interim CEO Mike Robertson and Auxiliary President Margo Coleman, gave a warm welcome to the guests, who were enjoying the spirit of the season with hot chocolate and cookies. Santa Claus had the honor of lighting the Christmas tree while the Piedmont Mountainside Employee Ensemble and the First Baptist Church of Jasper Preschool Choir sang delightful carols.
Children were able to have their picture taken with Santa, courtesy of Jasper Drugs. The Love Light Tree, an annual fundraiser sponsored by the PMH Auxiliary, displays Love Lights and Star Lights purchased in honor or memory of family members, friends, or loved ones.
The monies raised will go to the new cardiac rehab center. Jasper area residents and the surrounding communities can purchase Love Lights and Star Lights through December 31 at the Hospital gift shop and Moore Furniture on North Main Street.
The Love Light is available for purchase in the amount of $7.00, while the Star Light is on sale for $25.00. For more information, please call 706-692-2441.
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Aflac Agents and Employees Boost Bone Marrow Registry

/PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of Aflac agents and employees will be queuing up in the next few days to have their cheeks swabbed as part of a new company initiative to boost the rolls of the National Marrow Donor Program. Aflac's Bone Marrow program kicks off at the company's annual national sales conference on December 12 in Atlanta.

The bone marrow registration effort was inspired by Steve Karas, an Aflac regional sales coordinator in Boston, whose stem cell donation recently helped save the life of Matthew Welling, a young Aflac claimant in New York. Matthew's parents had been told that without a transplant, he stood little chance of living beyond childhood. Matthew's doctors searched the National Bone Marrow registry for a donor and found Steve Karas.

"Through Steve's story we learned more about the pressing need for bone marrow registrants and wanted to do something as an organization to help," said Paul Amos, president and chief operating officer of the Georgia-based insurance company.

Indeed, the need is great. Individuals with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma must find a donor whose tissue type matches their own. Ideal candidates for a match are usually from the same ethnic background and race. The National Marrow Donor Program has about 11 million registrants today, but 61 percent of patients who need a bone marrow transplant do not receive one. And that's just among Caucasians. Among other racial groups, the match rate is far lower. For instance, about 83 percent of African Americans in need of a transplant do not receive one because African Americans are severely underrepresented on the donor registry. Individuals from racially or ethnically diverse heritage represent only 26 percent of the entire donor registry.

"On a daily basis, about 6,000 people search the registry looking for a life-saving match," said Dr. William G. Woods, director of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. "Increasing the pool of registrants increases the likelihood of a match, and will save lives."

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Kiwanis Donates to After School Scholarship Fund

Working families who cannot afford to place their children in the Fayette County School System’s After School Program are getting some help thanks to a local civic organization and the school system’s CARE (Children at Risk in Education) After School Scholarship Fund.

The Kiwanis Club of Fayette has donated $1,000 of its proceeds from its annual fair to the scholarship fund. The fund helps pay partial after school tuition for students whose parents work but do not earn enough to pay for the program.

“The scholarship fund helps working parents provide quality child care for their children. The after school program gives children a safe, structured place to be while their parents are at work, keeping them from becoming involved in inappropriate, delinquent or criminal behaviors or falling victim to a predator,” says Jane Gough, Fayette County After School program manager.

Less than one percent of Fayette’s after school population receives scholarships for tuition, but for those who need financial assistance, it can mean the difference between keeping a family together or splitting it apart. Scholarship supporters realize the importance of this service to children, their families and the community.

“Kiwanis is pleased to support an effort like this because we know that after school is much less expensive than juvenile detention or foster care,” says Kiwanis Board Member Teresa Thaxton.

More information about the CARE After School Scholarship Fund can be obtained by contacting CARE Coordinator Karen Spangler, 770-460-1309 or Jane Gough, 770-460-3990, ext. 255.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Atlanta Hospitality House Invites All to Join its Annual Angel Network

Who: The Atlanta Hospitality House which provides food, lodging and “a home away from home” for the families of many individuals hospitalized in the Atlanta area.

What: Requesting donations of $25 or more for their annual Angel Tree to be hung at the Atlanta Hospitality House and Emory University Hospital.

When: Throughout the month of December.

Where to Donate: Online at www.atlhhh.org or call 404-377-6333 for more information.

Why: This small donation helps support thousands of guests who care for family members being treated in one of 17 Atlanta area hospitals.

The Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization, believes in the improvement of health and welfare by providing lodging, meals and a “home away from home” for traveling families of inpatients receiving medical treatment at any of the 17 Atlanta regional medical facilities. As the only hospitality house in the Atlanta area, which serves anyone with a need regardless of medical facility or medical issue, the AHHH has catered to over 100,000 guests from all 50 states and 39 foreign countries since 1981. At the AHHH, families can enjoy a safe, quiet and caring environment that focuses on the individual needs of each guest while bringing together families experiencing similar situations. Beginning spring 2009 the newly renovated Home Depot Marcus Hospitality Cottage will house an additional 4 bedrooms for patients of the Marcus Autism Center. For more information, visit www.atlhhh.org.
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fayette County Families Need Holiday Help

This holiday season is particularly hard for some families in Fayette County. Many people are out of work or have limited income. Fayette DFCS is helping children who are in the foster care system. Also, they are helping grandparents and other relative caregivers for children who might otherwise end up in the child welfare system.

There are many children who have not been sponsored yet. Most of these are older children, pre-teens and teens. Sponsors can buy gifts, provide money, or gift cards to help meet the needs. If you would like to sponsor any of these children, please contact Sharon Herbert, 770-460-2477, ssherbert@dhr.state.ga.us, today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lawrenceville Kiwanis Club to Provide Christmas Cheer to Children in Need

The Lawrenceville Kiwanis Club will be hosting its annual Christmas party for children in the community who otherwise would not get to experience the traditional joys of the season. The party will include lunch, a visit and photo with Santa Claus, arts/crafts with local high school Key Club members, and gifts. Each child will go home with gifts from his or her wish list to open on Christmas Day, courtesy of corporate and individual sponsors and donors.

Corporate and individual sponsors have signed on to sponsor more than 300 children. Companies and organizations like Gwinnett Technical College, which hosts the party, participate in the event by donating popular toys and video games, as well as winter clothing and jackets, school supplies and other common items that top the list of children's wishes – and needs. This year, faculty, staff and students from Gwinnett Tech will provide gifts to 57 children. The event is held in cooperation with the Gwinnett County Department of Family and Children's Services.

Children and their families, sponsors and supporters of the Lawrenceville Kiwanis Club's Christmas program will attend the party on Saturday, December 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The party will take place on the campus of Gwinnett Technical College in the Busbee Center, Building 700, 5150 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, 30043

A special appearance by Santa Claus will take place during the party, where an anticipated 300 children, ranging in age from newborn to teens, will be the honored guests.
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Thanks for Giving 2008 Food Distribution Makes History

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Center for Family Resources (CFR) would like to give thanks for the supporters of Thanks for Giving 2008, the largest distribution in our history! Because of the generous support from local schools, colleges, businesses, volunteers, individuals and civic and religious organizations, CFR provided food boxes to 1,370 families, a 25 percent increase from 2007.

More than 150 food drives helped support Thanks for Giving 2008, a 50 percent increase from 2007, including 56 schools and colleges, 62 businesses and civic organizations and 33 individuals. The support of Cobb County and Marietta City Schools was integral to the success of the food distribution. CFR is pleased to announce Lost Mountain Middle School as the overall largest food drive participant, providing nearly 3,000 food items. Also, Harrison High School and Burruss Elementary School were the largest high and elementary school food drives.

“The food drive participation from the schools quadrupled from our efforts last year,” Jennifer Cain, CFR Development and Volunteer Coordinator said. The increased demand we saw at registration meant the food coming in had to be greater than ever and the schools really helped us meet that challenge. We could not have gotten this done without them.”

The coordination and execution of Thanks for Giving 2008 relied entirely on the support of local individuals, schools, businesses and religious and civic organizations. Sponsors included Lockheed Martin, Turner Construction and Subcontractors, Cobb County Civic Center, Marietta Daily Journal, Audrey Bender, Butch Thompson Enterprises, Inc., James Dalton, Keith Davidson, Davis Elementary School, Genuine Parts Company, Georgia Power, Madelyn Merle, Radio Disney, Repro Products and The Color Spot, Republic Services of Georgia, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, UPS, Vinings Rotary Club, Advantage Office Solutions, Alan Cox Automotive, ARCADIS, Angie Bolton, Chatfield Contracting, Inc., Compass Display Group, Creamer-Pearce, C.W. Matthews, D & H Construction, E. Smith Heating and Air, Eastminster Church of Marietta, Russell Fitzgerald, Great Lakes West, Pam Hickox, J.D.’s Barbeque, Kaiser Permanente, Kroger, Karen Morris, OCI Chemical, PBS&J, Publix, Tri-State Utility Products, Inc., and Wild Wing Cafe.

“As the economy slowed this year, we saw more and more families face real need, many having to ask for help for the first time,” Debbie Abernathy, Thanksgiving Task Force Chair said. The businesses in our community were also suffering, with dwindling revenues and tight budgets but even with these tough conditions Cobb businesses dug down deep and held food drives, helped transport food, sorted, distributed and provided great financial support too. I was just amazed at the generous giving from so many businesses large and small – Cobb really does take care of its own.”

In October, CFR registered more than 1,400 families in need to receive Thanksgiving food baskets. Unfortunately, because of the volume of families in need this season, more than 220 families were turned away. If the level of need continues to escalate in 2009, CFR will work to increase donation and distribution efforts even further. In 2007, CFR provided Thanksgiving baskets to nearly 1,100 families. For more than 20 years, CFR and the Department of Children and Family Services have partnered to provide Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need throughout Cobb County.

Distribution of the food boxes to registered families took place on Monday, November 24 and Tuesday, November 25 at the Cobb County Civic Center.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Payless and Fayette Holiday Helpers Grant Wishes of Angels

Helen Rickman of Fayette Holiday Helpers (far left) and Karen Spangler with the school system’s CARE program (far right) accepted the donation of 100 gift coupons at the Payless Shoe Source in Fayetteville from store employees (L-R) Deatrice Hubbard, training supervisor, Vincent Clayton, store manager and Alex Patton, district manager.

Thanks to Payless Shoe Source and Helen Rickman of Fayette Holiday Helpers, 100 students in need of shoes on the CARE (Children at Risk in Education) Angel Tree will have their requests granted.

The Shoes 4 Kids program was initiated this year by Payless in response to the economic crisis, its impact on the underprivileged, the significant need across America for children’s shoes and to support smaller, localized nonprofits with a tool to assist them in helping those in need during the holiday season.

Fayette Holiday Helpers received 100 of the 67,000 gift coupons that were distributed nationwide. Each gift coupon is worth $15. Fayette Holiday Helpers, which assists with the CARE Angel Tree project each year, decided to donate all of the gift coupons to help fulfill the wishes of Fayette County’s public school students.

“We are so grateful to Payless Shoes Source and Holiday Helpers for this donation. We had just over 100 requests for shoes this year so this gift is very meaningful to us,” says Karen Spangler, the school system’s CARE coordinator.

A total of 16 schools from all areas of the county will receive the coupons for their Angel Tree participants.

The CARE Angel Tree project is designed to help working families struggling to make ends meet provide basic needs for their children. The tree fulfills nontraditional needs such as clothing, after school program scholarships, eyeglasses and dental work. All adults in the household must be employed in order for students to qualify for the program.

More than 2,600 nonprofits nationwide applied to receive the Payless gift coupons. Holiday Helpers was among the 630 nonprofit agencies selected in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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Holiday Wishes Go Wild at Zoo Atlanta

The season’s wildest holiday wishers don’t want iPhones, don’t own a Wii, and don’t have the slightest use for the latest in cutting-edge digital must-haves. Boomer balls, puzzle feeders, ribbons, bells and mirrors are much more their thing. Where the clientele is wild, so is the wish list, and with the return of Zoo Atlanta’s annual Giving Tree program, secret Santas and animal lovers across the city have the opportunity to provide surprises for over 850 mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Originally conceived as a means of allowing Zoo staff, Members and Volunteers to contribute holiday gifts for their favorite animals, Zoo Atlanta’s Giving Tree has expanded considerably in recent years. Located in the Zoo’s Administration Building, the tree is decorated to the hilt with handmade ornaments bearing images and descriptions of enrichment items for Zoo residents. Diverse in shape, size, use and cost (Giving Tree options are created to suit any personal budget, with the least expensive beginning at around $3), each wish list item has been selected with the sole intent of generating the interest, curiosity, play and enjoyment of a particular Zoo animal or species.

In the Zoo industry, the term “enrichment” refers to objects, activities or opportunities that encourage natural animal behaviors similar to those observed in the wild. Toys, puzzle feeders and novel foods, scents or sounds are all examples of items or experiences offered to spark animal interest and promote physical and emotional well-being. All of Zoo Atlanta’s animals enjoy enrichment on a daily basis through a comprehensive program managed by their animal management teams. Consistently unusual, always creative and often ingenious, these regular labors of love by the Zoo’s animal care professionals include swings made of fire hose for great apes; non-toxic paints for animal artists; and even hand-crafted faux “birds’ nests” for the World of Reptiles’ black mamba. Enrichment, in turn, enriches observers: Zoo guests enjoy unique insights into animal behavior, cognition and problem-solving.

Members of the community interested in contributing to the 2008 Giving Tree program are encouraged to visit zooatlanta.org for details and a complete wish list of items. Guests may also visit the Giving Tree in the Zoo Atlanta Administration Building to select ornaments or drop off items on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those purchasing wish list gifts online are asked to arrange delivery directly to Zoo Atlanta at the following address: Zoo Atlanta; Attention: Jodi Carrigan/Giving Tree Program; 800 Cherokee Avenue, S.E., Atlanta GA 30315. Giving Tree donations will be accepted through December 31, 2008.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

6th Annual Festival of Trees and Lights to Benefit the Rainbow

Friday, December 12, 2008 – Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008 – Sunday, December 21, 2008

More lights! Bigger Displays!
6:00pm to 9:30pm each night
Only $7.00 per car at the gate! ($10.00 Vans/$20.00 buses)
Clayton County International Park, “The Beach”
2300 Hwy 138 SE, Jonesboro, GA 30236

We’ve added live trees, arts and crafts, and food for your enjoyment!
Bring the entire family for a night of fun!
• New Arts & Crafts*
• Nightly Entertainment
• Holiday Gift Shop*
• Gift Wrapping for $1
• Delicious Food Bar with New Items*
• Pictures with Santa*
• Games*
• Old Fashioned Hayride*
• Cake Walk Featuring Homemade Desserts*
• Decorated Trees
• Thousands of Lights
*There is a small fee for these activities

Saturday, Dec. 20th –Scout Night! All Boy & Girl scouts in uniform receive Free Hot cocoa or hayride at the Festival!

Proceeds benefit Rainbow House, Inc., a child & family resource center. For more information on the 6th Annual Festival of Trees & Lights please visit our website at www.RainbowHouseInc.org, or call (770) 692.1733
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Monday, December 08, 2008

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Associates Pledge More Than $1.3 Million to Community Organizations

/PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) today announced that its associates have pledged more than $1.3 million to support more than 996 not-for-profit organizations in 2009 as part of the company's annual Associate Giving Campaign. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation will match 50 percent of associate pledges, increasing the total to more than $2 million.

"Every day our associates work to bring value to the health care system and our health plans' members. The generosity shown during this year's associate giving campaign is truly remarkable," said Monye Connolly, president and general manager, BCBSGa. "In these challenging economic times, our associates continued to exceed all expectations and surpassed our company-wide goal."

Nationwide, associates of BCBSGa's parent company pledged more than $16 million to nearly 10,000 charities.

During 2008, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, its associates and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation provided more than $3.6 million in grants and sponsorships to agencies across the state. Recipients include the March of Dimes (giving support to the South Health District/Lowndes County Board of Health's Baby LUV program), the Fragile Kids Foundation (supporting medically fragile children in need of equipment not covered by insurance and Medicaid programs), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (sponsored Atlanta and Columbus walks in conjunction with associate fundraising), HealthMPowers (provides comprehensive health and nutrition educational programs to schools throughout Georgia), the CoverMe Foundation (providing the uninsured greater access to enrollment opportunities in Federal and State sponsored free and low-cost healthcare coverage programs), the Tour de Georgia (stressing the importance of exercise and movement in the battle against obesity), and many others.

"BCBSGa's community agencies serve as a vital public safety net," noted Connolly. "In difficult economic times like this, the role of these agencies is more important than ever before."

"Through the efforts of our foundations across the country we can help address local health concerns," said Caroline 'Caz' Matthews, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation. "But we go beyond simply providing dollars by giving of our time through our national Community Service Day, where associates volunteer in our communities to have an even greater impact. In the end, our focus allows us to have a measurable and sustainable impact on critical health care needs in the communities we serve."

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Payless ShoeSource Announces Non-Profit Partners for Payless Gives(TM) Shoes 4 Kids Holiday Program

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Leading family footwear retailer, Payless ShoeSource, announced today that 630 nonprofit partners located in small towns, mid-size and large cities and rural areas representing 50 states and the District of Columbia have been chosen for its Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program, a national, grass roots campaign aimed at delivering $1 million of shoes to American children of families in need.

Payless is giving nearly 67,000 $15 gift coupons redeemable through Jan. 31, 2009, towards a new pair of kids' shoes at any of the more than 3,600 stores across the United States*.

Nonprofit partners chosen from Atlanta include City Of Refuge Inc., Atlanta Children's Shelter Inc., Atlanta Day Shelter For Women And Children Inc., Midtown Assistance Center Inc., and Jerusalem House Inc.

Payless said that all partners should receive their gift coupons packages today along with a personal letter from Matthew E. Rubel, chairman and chief executive officer of Collective Brands, Inc., which owns Payless, with a special request to get the coupons into the hands of the children that need them in time for the holidays. The quantity of gift coupons per agency was based on agency size and the number of constituents served. Packages landing today include as many as 200 coupons for some agencies. Many agencies will also provide transportation for group shopping trips to the local Payless stores.

"Kids will start shopping today for their free shoes," said Rubel. "A great pair of shoes can lift spirits, bolster self confidence and bring a huge smile to a child's face. The recipient children can actually select their own shoes -- which will be an even more inspiring experience for them. Together, with our partners, we are thrilled to deliver a true gift to so many families this holiday season."

Payless initiated the new program in response to the economic crisis, its impact on the underprivileged, the significant need across the United States for children's shoes, and to support smaller, localized nonprofits with a tool to assist them in helping those in need this holiday season.

The company launched the program on Nov. 11 with a call to action to the non-profit community to apply to be partners in the national shoe-gifting campaign with an aim to build a network of localized organizations across the nation for immediate, direct access to kids in need. In a 10-day application period, the retailer received more than 2,500 applicants at its application website http://www.paylessgives.com/ and inquiries from more than 3,000 U.S. cities nationwide. The application period is now closed.

"We were overwhelmed by the response from the non-profit community to join us in this important effort -- to give a free pair of shoes to children in need this holiday season," said Rubel. "Our intent is to work with and through a diverse network of localized non-profits that have direct and immediate access to the children. Our chosen partners -- 630 in all -- represent every state and a diverse group of non-profits located in small towns, mid-sized and large cities, as well as rural areas so that we can blanket the nation and most effectively reach those in need."

Greater Horizons of Kansas City, also a nonprofit, served as the independent third-party to manage the selection process based on Payless' core selection criteria, which included IRC 501(c) (3) status, filing form 990, and direct access to underprivileged children in local communities during December.

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Fayette County Civitan Club Selling Christmas Trees to Help Local Charities

Fayette County Civitan Club is raising funds by hosting their annual live Christmas Tree lot. The Club invites you to, "create your family holiday memories by purchasing a live tree for Christmas and help others while doing so".

Sales began the day after Thanksgiving, November 28th and will continue throughout December. The profits from the tree lot will be going to charities that the Fayette County Civitan Club supports.

The trees come in a variety of sizes. The location of the Christmas Tree lot is at Melear’s BBQ Restaurant Parking Lot, 420 Glynn Street South or State Highway 85 in Fayetteville, GA. Also offered by the Fayette County Civitan Club are one pound bags of fresh shelled Pecans, Christmas Fruit-Cakes, Paula Deen Spice Kits all of which make fabulous gifts for family and friends. These items can be purchased from any member of the Fayette County Civitan Club, at the Christmas Tree Lot or inside the Melears BBQ Restaurant as well.

The Fayette County Civitan Club has been serving the local community since 1970. The club meets in Fayetteville on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 7 p.m. at Melear's BBQ Restaurant in Fayetteville, Ga.

The club supports The Joseph Sams School, Christian City, Southwest Christian Care, American Cancer Society, Boy and Girl Scouts, The Fayette Samaritan’s, Christmas with the Police, and Camp Big Heart. Other fund raisers by the Civitan Club to raise funds to support their projects throughout the year are candy boxes set up on store counters for donations, a 5K road race, Tennis Tournament, Golf Tournament, and yard sales.

The Fayette Civitan Club is also involved in Junior Olympics, International Research Center, the senior center, Scouting groups and Relay For Life. Civitan clubs meet a wide variety of needs in their communities, with an emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities. The Civitan International Foundation continues this mission with a $20 million dollar commitment to its flagship project, the Civitan International Research Center is at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Civitan is an international association of local community service clubs. Started in Birmingham, Ala. in 1917, Civitan has become one of the world’s leading volunteer service organizations, with more than 40,000 men, women and youth in 24 countries. For more information, visit the website at www.fayettegacivitan.org or www.civitan.org, or call 1-800-CIVITAN for more information on contacting the local Fayette County Civitan Club.

Donations are appreciated and accepted if you would like to simply donate funds to help support the charities of the Fayette County Civitan Club. For more information, please contact the club President, Chuck Clanton at 404-456-8151.
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National Beverage – St. Nick’s Drinks ... Helping the Kids of St. Jude

(BUSINESS WIRE)--For the fifteenth consecutive year, National Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:FIZZ) is supporting medical research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through its St. Nick’s holiday drink program. Giving children the greatest gift of all ... the gift of good health, National Beverage is donating a portion of its proceeds from the sale of St. Nick’s soft drinks and juices to help St. Jude in discoveries that have completely changed how the world thinks of cancer and other catastrophic disease care for children.

Additionally, National Beverage has once again been designated an official partner in St. Jude’s "Thanks and Giving" campaign. Bearing the unique St. Jude "Thanks and Giving" logo, St. Nick’s holiday soft drinks in Snowflake Orange, Candy Cane Cola, Frosty Red Grape and Holiday Punch flavors are available in 8-ounce cans and 1 and 3-liter bottles at retailers. These holiday drinks are adorned by artwork done by the patients of St. Jude and contain only 90 calories per 8-ounce serving. New for the first time this year are St. Nick’s Everfresh juices in two seasonal flavors – Cinnamon Apple and Sugar Plum!

“The children of St. Jude, their Moms and Dads and I are thrilled to again welcome National Beverage to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Thanks and Giving campaign,” said Marlo Thomas, National Outreach Director for St. Jude. “National Beverage's dedication to this holiday campaign helps ensure that St. Jude can continue the lifesaving research and care that has brought hope to so many families.”

“In light of the challenging economic conditions facing many Americans, we believe it is more important than ever to team up with St. Jude’s wonderful cause,” stated Nick A. Caporella, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“At this time of year, when we open our hearts ... St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital should be foremost in our minds ... for there is no better wish to make or gift to give than bringing joy and happiness to children. It is only in their little hearts that the ultimate feeling of the holiday spirit truly lives,” Mr. Caporella concluded.

To further support St. Jude’s untiring mission and to encourage donations, National Beverage Corp. has once again sponsored a full-page ad in USA Today to demonstrate the importance of the work being done at St. Jude. In addition to purchasing St. Nick’s drinks, consumers can also make donations online at www.stnicks4stjude.com.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is the nation’s leading pediatric cancer research and treatment center and the only one that covers all of the costs of medicine and treatment. Children come to St. Jude from across the country and around the world, and St. Jude covers the cost of food, travel and lodging for the patient and a family member. Eighty-five cents of every dollar received supports the research and treatment at St. Jude. Pioneering treatments at St. Jude have driven the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, from 4 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 94 percent today. The research and treatment protocols developed at St. Jude are freely shared with the global scientific and medical communities.

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A Chair-ity Event

On Monday night community leaders, businesses and many, many caring people came together to support The Children's Village at Christian City. I'm not sure how many readers know about all the great things that the wonderful folks at Christian City do for ALL ages.

As I talk to people in the community it's interesting to hear their thoughts on Christian City. While the vast majority understand the scope of their services, others only know part of the picture. Some think they take care of retirees or that it's a community of retirees. Some think it's a home for children. Some just think it's a community of Christians. Others think about Southwest Christian Hospice.

Well, Christian City is a place for retirees to live, it's a nursing home, it's a place for on-the-go seniors and it provides a nurturing home for children.

Christian City is open to those of all faiths. Here's a bit from their website that explains their focus on faith much better than I could: "While expressly Christian in orientation, Christian City does not discriminate in any way with regard to who can benefit from services and ministries provided. We minister to the physical as well as the spiritual needs of people as an expression of the Love of God to them. Our motto is “Loving People…Loving People.” It is our hope that hurting people will experience the love of God through us and be drawn closer to Him. It is also our hope that everyone served by Christian City enjoys an enriched and fulfilling life."

While they do have hospice services, they are separate from Southwest Christian Hospice (or, to note the correct name, Southwest Christian Care). Southwest is located in the middle of the Christian City campus, but the two are different entities, each doing wonderful things for many in their own way.

Christian City is also working on a new venture which is something I will be supporting completely. Once they complete the NEW Children's Village, they will be remodeling the old children's homes to provide a place for older special needs adults. I'll share more information about that in a later write-up. Right now I want to focus on the event we held Monday night.

Belinda and Craig Fitch, owners of the Hollingsworth House in Fayetteville, and Metro Catering, put on a fund-raiser to beat all fund-raisers. For the second year they opened their antebellum home to raise money to build The Children's Village. The pair worked tirelessly to help put the event together, donating hours and hours of time AND donating all the food and services for the event. These are truly two wonderful people who, to quote a friend, put feet with their prayers.

Numerous volunteers joined the effort to make the fund raiser a huge success.

The fun twist that made the event unique was the auction. Artists from across the Atlanta area donated chairs and stools they painted for the event. Patsy Gullet, Vicki Turner, Miles Davis, Debbie Beauregard, Greg Blair, Donna Rosser, Jim Whitlock, Cress Chance, Fiona Arlene Dennis and others found chairs and painted them specifically for this event.

The chairs were a hit!

In case you're wondering why I'm rhapsodizing about this event... Aside from the fact that it's a great event for a great cause, I'm on the volunteer committee and we're already starting to work on NEXT year's event. This year we had tremendous support from the artistic community, the business community and many community leaders. We raised a lot of money, but you know that when you're dealing with children, there's never enough! Next year, we want to raise the bar and do more for the children at Christian City.

I'd like to tell you more, but this has probably already taxed your reading limits. Please visit http://www.christiancity.org/ and find out more about Christian City. I'd also like to ask you to visit http://www.chair-ity-event.org/ to find out more about the chairs, the artists and our great sponsors. And, last but not least, I'd like to ask you to consider sponsoring a child at Christian City or making a donation of some sort to help the kids. Visit http://www.christiancity.org/ to find out how to help.

Hear are some links from the Christian City website:

Children
Our people reflect Christ's love by providing hope, restoring trust, mending hearts and bringing happiness to each child entrusted to our care.
Sponsor a Child
Atlanta Foster Care
The Children's Village
Transitional Living Program

Seniors
Our passion to radiate the love of Christ results in extraordinary service to Seniors on the entire continuum of care, because it's not our job - it's our mission!
Atlanta Assisted Living
Atlanta Independent Living
Atlanta Nursing Home
Atlanta HUD Housing
Other Senior Services

Photos:
1. Detail from Patsy Gullet's chair which depicted scenes from Fayette County
2. Debbie Beauregard donated a chair and two stools with whimsical animals and florals
3. Miles Davis painted a fabulous chair with an owl on the seat and a large moon on the back
4. Tyrone artist Jim Whitlock painted a bar and two stools with three different aircraft.

- Janet McGregor Dunn

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Come Celebrate the Season with ExceptionalOps

Friday, December 12th, 2008
6:30-8:30 PM

Guests who are Middle, High School and older and their family members
Get Your Dancing Shoes On
Live Music Provided by Allen Goodman Band
Fun, Food and Festivities

Peachtree City United Methodist Church Youth Center
400 Windgate Road
(Located on the Corner of Peachtree Pkwy)
Peachtree City, GA

RSVP╩╝s a must by Dec. 8th
770-631-1035 Janet Smola

Or e-mail janetsmola@numail.org

ExceptionalOps is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization providing advocacy, information, supports and choices for Fayette residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Your tax-deductible contributions are encouraged and welcomed.

Mailing Address: 256 Commerce Dr., Suite 447, Peachtree City, GA 30269
Office: 100 Governor╩╝s Trace, Suite 107, Fayetteville, GA 30214 (by appointment)
Executive Director: Janet Smola - (770) 631-1035 or cell phone (770) 639-9169
Email: ExceptionalOPS@yahoo.com
Websites: http://www.ExceptionalOPS.com or www.ExceptionalOPS.org

The Fayette Fund Announces Grant Program

Charitable organizations in Fayette County have the opportunity to apply for grants to advance their good works. The Fayette Fund, a local fund of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations for grants to fund various community needs within the county. Organizations must be recognized as nonprofit entities with 501c3 status and provide programs and services to the residents of Fayette County.

The Fayette Fund awards grants up to $5,000.

Grant applications will be accepted through December 12, 2008. Grant application and guidelines can be found on The Community Foundation’s website at www.atlcf.org (under Local Funds – Fayette). For more information, contact Kim Frederking at 678-462-8320 or email at kfrederking@atlcf.org.

2008 grant recipients were Advo-Kids (Casa), Fayette Care Clinic, Fayette County Education Foundation, Fayette FACTOR, Fayette Family YMCA, Joseph Sams School, Real Life Center and Southwest Christian Care.

With nearly $800 million in assets, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta connects donors, nonprofits, community leaders and other partners to make philanthropy happen. Last year, The Community Foundation awarded more that 4,600 grants totaling $63 million to nonprofit organizations throughout 23 counties in the greater Atlanta region in the areas of arts and culture, community development, civic affairs, education, health, religion and human services.

Fayette Care Clinic Announces Partnership with Georgia Lions Lighthouse and Dr. Nancy Barr

Fayette Care Clinic is happy to announce a new partnership with Georgia Lions Lighthouse and Dr. Nancy Barr. Thanks to Georgia Lions Lighthouse and Dr. Barr, Fayette Care Clinic now offer vision care to their patients. Vision Care patients are seen every other month and referred by our providers. Please join us in welcoming both Georgia Lions Lighthouse and Dr. Nancy Barr to our group.

Fayette Care Clinic is located at 128 Sumner Rd. Fayetteville, Ga. 30214. www.fayettecareclinic.com; If you would like to get involved or need additional information, please call us at 770.487.4778.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

4th Source Delivers “Dinner and a Donation” to Atlanta Ronald McDonald Charities

(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its corporate citizenship initiative, 4th Source will sponsor dinner at the Decatur, Georgia Ronald McDonald House on Monday, December 8, 2008. 4th Source families will prepare and serve dinner to the families who are staying at the House while their critically ill and injured children are being treated at nearby Egleston Children’s Hospital.

In addition, 4th Source COO, Mark Molinari will present a $5,000 check to the Ronald McDonald Charities. “We are delighted to work with such a wonderful charity,” says Molinari. “This is also an opportunity for our own families to be together during the holidays and share in the spirit of giving.”

“We are grateful to 4th Source for their support. Their generosity will help to provide much-needed hope and healing to many deserving families during their time of crisis,” says Linda M. Morris, President / CEO of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Molinari also expressed concern over the toll the economy is having on organizations like Ronald McDonald House Charities. Molinari adds, “Although contributions by corporations and individuals are less this year, the need by organizations like Ronald McDonald House continues to grow. I’m pleased that 4th Source is in a position to support such a worthy cause.”

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Avoiding Charity Fraud

HHG Note: Tis the season to think of others. Fa la la la. Make sure your good deeds are given to legitimate charities. Fa la la la la.

(SPM Wire) In good times and in bad, Americans like to give charity. Unfortunately, some criminals try to take advantage of this generosity by illegally soliciting contributions, claiming to represent legitimate charities.

"If you want your money to go to a good cause, exercise caution to ensure it gets to those in need," says FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko.

The FBI provides the following advice:

* Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.

* Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations.

* Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.

* Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

* To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.

* Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization's Web site rather than following an alleged link to the site.

* Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the organization's existence.

* Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

For more information about cyberscams, visit www.fbi.gov.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Infinity Insurance Moves To Restock Depleted Food Bank Shelves

/PRNewswire/ -- Infinity Insurance announced a second annual food drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank (www.ACFB.org) today. Infinity garnered more than 1,200 pounds of food donations last year and will operate 22 food drives throughout the Atlanta region beginning today through December 15, 2008.

"The holiday season is a perfect opportunity for Infinity and our agency partners to give back to the communities we serve. Our goal is to exceed last year's food donations by gathering at least 2,000 pounds of canned goods to cap off the year in 2008." - Vice-President of Business Development Jim Waldron.

According to the ACFB web site, 14% percent of Georgians live in poverty and more than 20% of those individuals are children. Through these food drives, Infinity and local independent insurance agencies hope to feed more hungry families this holiday season.

"Food donations from companies like Infinity are more important this year than ever. With the economic downturn, we have seen a tremendous increase in the demand for food. We have distributed 10% more food to our partner nonprofits this year than last, and 41% more this October compared to last October. The food is moving off our shelves faster than we can replace it, so we are counting on donations from the community." - Bill Bolling, Founder and Executive Director, Atlanta Community Food Bank

To find a local participating agency, please click on the link below. https://www.infinityauto.com/news-and-events/community-georgia.jsp

About Atlanta Community Food Bank:

Founded in 1979, the Atlanta Community Food Bank annually distributes over 20 million pounds of food and grocery products to more than 800 partner nonprofit organizations providing hunger relief in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. In addition to food distribution, the Food Bank leads seven distinct community-building projects: Atlanta's Table, Community Gardens, Hunger 101, Hunger Walk/Run, Kids In Need, Product Rescue Center, and the Atlanta Prosperity Campaign. The Atlanta Community Food Bank is a member of Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest), the national network of more than 200 food banks. For more information on the Food Bank, visit www.ACFB.org .

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Toys for Tots Experiencing A Dramatic Increase in Toy Requests

/PRNewswire/ -- Another dismal sign of how the economy is affecting American families is the dramatic increase of request for toys from the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. As more families struggle to just pay their bills, they are turning to Toys for Tots to help them deliver the magic of the holidays to their children. At the same time, Toys for Tots is bracing themselves for a decline in toy donations as fewer families have the extra resources to purchase toys for the Toys for Tots barrels.

In response to this urgent need, Toys for Tots has launched a simple and affordable way to help the organization respond. By simply texting the word TOY to 90999, anyone can make a $5 donation to Toys for Tots. These donations will be used to purchase and distribute toys to the growing number of economically disadvantaged children across the country.

"With so many deserving families in need of our assistance this year, we want to make it easy and affordable for the American public to help us deliver toys to children," says Lt. General Pete Osman, USMC (Ret), president and chief executive officer for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "If everyone would take out their phone and text the word TOY to 90999, we could achieve our goal of delivering a toy to every one of the 13 million U.S. children living in poverty."

To make the most of every dollar donated, Hasbro, Inc. announces today that it will donate one toy or game for every text donation completed now through December 21, 2008, providing up to 150,000 Hasbro toys and games.

"Through the gift of a shiny new toy, Toys for Tots delivers hope and joy to millions of children," says Brian Goldner, president and chief executive officer for Hasbro, Inc. "We want to help make sure every family who turns to Toys for Tots for assistance this year, will have the opportunity to put a smile on the face of a deserving child."

For each text donation, a one-time charge of $5 will be added to your mobile phone bill. Standard messaging rates and additional fees may apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service carrier. Proceeds benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Service is available on most carriers. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting 'STOP' to 90999. For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org/textatoy.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SouthernLINC Wireless Gives a Little “Home” to American Troops This Holiday Season

(BUSINESS WIRE)--SouthernLINC Wireless, a Southern Company (NYSE: SO), today announced it is supporting Any Soldier Inc., a non-profit organization that helps boost morale among deployed servicemen and women via letters and packages from “home.”

Until Dec. 13, multiple SouthernLINC Wireless locations will serve as collection points for cards, letters and care package items, which will be sent directly to soldiers deployed from military bases in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. Employees, customers and community members are encouraged to support the troops by writing a letter or donating items to be included in care packages.

“We are proud to work with Any Soldier to support the dedicated men and women of the U.S. armed forces who are serving our country overseas,” said Bob Dawson, president and chief executive officer, SouthernLINC Wireless. “It’s comforting to know that a letter from ‘home,’ which costs so little, means so much to a soldier during these challenging times.”

Drop-off locations include SouthernLINC Wireless corporate offices in Atlanta and Birmingham, the Business and Government Sales Office in Montgomery and all SouthernLINC Wireless retail stores. For more information, including a complete list of drop-off locations, guidelines and suggested care package items, visit www.southernlinc.com/community.

Founded in 2003 by Marty and Sue Horn, Any Soldier® grew through a strong network of family and friends. Currently, Any Soldier is helping more than 100,000 active duty and reservists in all U.S. military branches.

“Our family started Any Soldier to help our son Brian and his unit from the 173rd Airborne Brigade,” said Marty Horn, a 20-year Army veteran and president of Any Soldier. “We are honored to be working with SouthernLINC Wireless to support soldiers from its local communities.”

In its five year history, Any Soldier has helped more than 1 million members of the U.S. military.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Atlanta Braves Foundation Continues Thanksgiving Traditions

Fifth Annual "Atlanta Braves Foundation Turkey Drop"
Thursday, November 20th - Caravan will leave Turner Field at approximately 4:00 PM
11th Annual "Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Thanksgiving Day Dinner" at Turner Field
Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day
10 AM - 3 PM

The Atlanta Braves Foundation will continue two annual Thanksgiving traditions this holiday season with the "Atlanta Braves Foundation Turkey Drop" on Thursday, November 20 and the "Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Thanksgiving Dinner" on Thursday, November 27.

Kelly Johnson and his wife Lauren will go door-to-door in the Turner Field neighborhood, distributing baskets filled with Thanksgiving provisions, including turkey, stuffing, vegetables, and desserts just in time for the holidays, during the fifth annual Atlanta Braves Foundation Turkey Drop. Five families, selected by the Georgia Avenue Food Co-op, a former Atlanta Braves Foundation Grant recipient, will receive the Thanksgiving baskets from the Atlanta Braves Foundation.

For the eleventh consecutive year, the Atlanta Braves Foundation will help facilitate Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless' annual event to serve the people in need on Thanksgiving Day. A seven-course meal will be served, and much more will be offered to those present, including a "Kids Corner" with toys, books, and school supplies for children; a barber and beauty Shop with hot showers, clean clothing and toiletries; church services; free medical check-ups; a long distance phone call center; and a job referral and housing center.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Community Leaders Host "Chair-ity" Event for the Children's Village aat Christian City

Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, Senator Ronnie Chance, Senator Mitch Seabaugh as well as Fayette County's four State Representatives, three Fayette Mayors,and other well known members of the community are joining together to support Christian City's ministry to abandoned and abused children this Christmas by hosting a "Char-ity" Event at the Hollingsworth House in Fayetteville.

All proceeds will help the children who live in the cottages at Christian City to have a wonderful holiday season including buying gifts, holiday meals with all the trimmings, winter coats and clothing and to help buffer the many other operational costs this winter.

Over 20 local artisans including Vicki Turner, Patsy Gullet and Cressida Chance have painted unique and beautiful chairs which will be auctioned off in a silent auction.

The owners of the Hollingsworth House, Craig and Belinda Fitch, are inviting guests and the general public to drop in on Monday, December 1st from 5:00pm to 7:30pm and support this very worthy cause.

The event is volunteer driven and is being sponsored by over 50 local businesses including Truett Cathy and Chick-fil-A, Greystone Power, Metro Catering, AT&T, Georgia Power and BB&T Reece Insurance to name a few.

Tickets are $20 each and due to popular demand must be purchased in advance by calling Lauren at 770-964-3309.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Atlanta Call To Stuff the Truck

Tis the season for giving. This year, many Atlanta area families grow concerned that Santa will be unable to stuff their stockings, especially as the credit crisis and economy continues to affect families throughout the US. In recognition of this concern, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, the Atlanta Falcons, and Two Men And A Truck have partnered for the Stuff the Truck: Toys for Tots Toy Drive, prior to the game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, December 14th.

Representatives will collect new, unwrapped toy donations in the silver parking lot before, during, and after the football game. “Our goal is to stuff the moving truck full of donations,” says Kelly Wilson a representative from Two men And A Truck. “We also accept monetary donations which help fund the gift purchases. Think of what we could provide if each fan donated $1.00 to the cause,” commented Sgt. Jones of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Each year, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve collects thousands of toys and donations at area businesses and events for distribution in the Atlanta area. This year participation is down 30% from previous years. The Toys for Tots organization has scheduled numerous toy drives throughout the metro Atlanta area. The Atlanta Falcon’s participation is an asset to the organizations efforts.

The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders. Community participation is essential to the success of cause. For more information about participation, or scheduled events in Atlanta, visit www.atlantatoysfortots.org.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Georgia Center for Child Advocacy Holds Statewide Trainings in Honor of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse November 19

Abuse of children and adolescents is a complex international problem that seems to defy simple analysis and easy answers. On Nov. 19, organizations around the world will mark World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse with events to increase awareness and education about child abuse and violence towards children, and the urgent need for effective prevention programs.

Using training curriculum created by Darkness to Light, the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy will recognize World Day by hosting a number of child sexual abuse prevention trainings throughout the state of Georgia. The Darkness to Light training curriculum educates adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

“The Georgia Center is pleased to support the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse initiative in the state as we all want to make the world a safer place for children,” said Nancy Chandler, CEO of The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. “This is an opportunity for Georgians to show their commitment to protecting the world’s children by attending a Darkness to Light training.”

World Day, initiated by the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) in 2000, aims to create a culture of prevention by encouraging governments and community organizations to play more active roles in protecting children.

The Georgia Center will coordinate Darkness to Light sexual abuse prevention trainings in the following cities:

Rome – hosted by Harbor House
Macon – hosted by Crescent House
Augusta – hosted by Child Enrichment
Duluth – hosted by GUIDE
Albany – hosted by Lily Pad
Blue Ridge – hosted by North Georgia Crisis Network.

The trainings last approximately 3 hours and are facilitated by a trained professional. For more information and to register, please 678-904-2880.

In addition, each organization will host an essay contest entitled “World Prevention Day: How Should Adults Protect Children From Child Abuse.” Area middle-school students are invited to submit an essay about what adults can do to protect children. Three winners from each community will be selected and recognized.

The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, a nationally-certified child advocacy center, is committed to a healthy and safe community for children. The organization's mission is to champion the needs of sexually and severely physically abused children through prevention, intervention, therapy, and collaboration. The Georgia Center provides multidisciplinary team management services that include clinical experts and forensic interviewers in a neutral facility, and they plan to create two co-located facilities where law enforcement, case managers, prosecutorial resources and forensic, medical and therapeutic services will all be provided in a child-friendly environment.

With two locations in DeKalb and Fulton counties, over the past 20 years, the Georgia Center has offered assistance and healing for more than 9,200 children and their families by providing evaluation, therapy and treatment to aide in each child’s long-term recovery. Its professionals conduct forensic interviews, provide expert testimony in trials, supervise and train interviewers and conduct multidisciplinary case review. For more information please visit www.georgiacenterforchildadvocacy.org. To learn how to access a Darkness to Light training, contact the Center at 678/904-2880 x 205, or WillaB@GeorgiaCenterforChildAdvocacy.org.
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