Local city officials are doing their part to spread some holiday cheer by collecting gifts for patients at Savannah’s Georgia Regional Hospital as part of the 2012 Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade.
Pembroke Mayor Mary Warnell and Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler will join numerous other mayors and city officials Dec. 5 as they parade vehicles through the Georgia Regional Hospital campus to drop off various gifts to patients.
Cities across Georgia participate in the annual program that provides gifts to patients, most of whom are adults, with developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs at Georgia’s regional health hospitals.
Fowler said it’s important to remember the patients, some of whom may not have family or others to celebrate with during the holiday season.
“I think it’s a means of giving to the needy at the hospital,” Fowler said. “Of course people there don’t always get gifts, and it’s a means of helping them. It’s all a part of the season of giving back.”
This will be the first time Warnell has participated in the motorcade as a mayor, although she has gathered gift donations in the past as a member of the Pembroke Garden Club. “We always need to do things to help folks that are in need, whether they are in hospitals or whether they are in facilities where they don’t get extra things for holidays,” Warnell said.
Donations of new and unwrapped gifts can be dropped off in Pembroke at The Heritage Bank, First Bank of Coastal Georgia and City Hall until Dec. 4.
In Richmond Hill, donations can be dropped off until close of business Dec. 4 at City Hall or the Richmond Hill Police Department.
Gifts suggested for donating include board games, watches, baseball caps, wallets, stationery, pens and pencils, tote bags and PG- or G-rated movies
Other items needed include personal care items, like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, deodorant, after shave, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner, cosmetics, combs and hairbrushes.
New clothing, like bedroom shoes, socks, underwear, sweatshirts, pajamas, bathrobes and tennis shoes, can also be donated. Donations of wrapping paper, ribbons and bows are also welcome, as are cash donations. Any items donated should be new and unwrapped.
The Georgia Municipal Association began the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade in 1958 at the request of then-Gov. Ernest Vandiver as a way of providing holiday gifts for the patients of Georgia’s mental health hospitals. The program is also aimed at raising awareness of the needs of such hospitals.
There are currently seven regional mental health hospitals in the state serving around 3,200 Georgians. Many of these patients have lived in the hospital for much of their lives and receive little, if any support from their families. Hospital staff have said that without the motorcade, many residents would not receive gifts during the holidays.
For more information, call 653-4417 in Pembroke, 756-3345 in Richmond Hill or visit www.gmanet.com/Motorcade.aspx.