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Pay it forward: Fundraiser set for Ellabells Baby James Bush
"Baby James" Bush of Ellabell is the subject of a fundraiser Saturday.

Get pictures with Santa while helping out a new charitable group this Saturday at Ella’s gift shop on Hwy. 144, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event, entitled "Christmas on the Corner," will also feature many activities for kids, including face painting and cookie decorating.

This is the very first event for a new Richmond Hill-based group aimed at helping those in need throughout Bryan County.

Richmond Hill resident Dana Lewis has observed the fact that several folks in the community have needed a helping hand over the past few years, and she has decided to do something about it. She, along with help from Wendy Maxwell and several other local volunteers, have decided to start up a group called the "Pay it Forward Foundation," designed to rally people together for local goodwill efforts.

One of the focuses of Saturday’s event will be the Bush family in Ellabell. Maxwell said the parents of "Baby James" Bush need help. The infant was born seven weeks premature and has 12 different medical conditions. The parents have four other children and are burdened with funeral costs as the baby’s grandmother just passed, with no insurance to cover costs.

Maxwell said a special area, decorated by a Christmas tree, will be set up at Saturday’s event for donations that will specifically go to the Bush family.

"In this area, I’ve noticed that people are real good about helping their own," Lewis said. "I saw them come together when young Ryan Woo needed cancer treatment and when Judy McCorkle needed a transplant. I know for a fact that a lot more people in the county want to help with causes like this, but aren’t sure how. This organization is geared toward solving that."

And what exactly does ‘Pay it Forward’ mean?

Maxwell said the phrase refers to potentially adding volunteers to the group’s roster with each cause they support.

"We plan to build a base of volunteers from those we help," Maxwell said. "They may not be able to give monetarily, but they may offer their time or their individual talents. In that sense, people could be helped and ‘pay it forward’ to help others."

Maxwell said the group is looking for as many volunteers as they can get to give their time and/or individual talents to help the foundation reach its full potential. She encourages volunteers to bring their children along to this and future group events in hopes that they will adopt the ‘pay it forward’ attitude.

Lewis said there are "no boundaries" for the good the organization could potentially do. An admitted animal lover, Lewis said efforts may even be extended to animals in need throughout the county.

To help or for more information on the group, contact Lewis at 756-3552 or

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