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Help Agency is making a big impact

VOLUNTEERS STUFF SACKS with holiday groceries for local needy families as part of the Grady County Help Agency’s annual Christmas project. This year, the local charity will feed 683 Grady County families, representing 2,331 individuals. Pictured, front to back, right side of table: Katie Harvey, Kelly Bishop, Al Ball, Shakima Stevens, Peter Mangeris, Jamie Massey, Brian Gancerez, Chris Marsh and Shandrika Herring; left side of table: Ben Fuller.

This year, more than 2,300 needy Grady countians won’t have to go without a traditional holiday feast just because of financial struggles, and their children will have toys under the tree on Christmas morning, thanks to a local agency and its devoted supporters.  
Grady County Help Agency is providing holiday groceries for 683 local families (representing 2,331 individuals) and toys for 549 local children under age 10 as part of its annual Christmas project, Cindy Johnson, the organization’s director, says. All recipients are Help Agency clients who live in Grady County and signed up for the assistance earlier this year. Agency volunteers will distribute the food and toys to beneficiaries at an event Thursday at the Grady County Agri Center.  
The Help Agency purchases the food using its own funds, largely raised through donations, but depends on the community to buy toys through its Angel Tree initiative. The Angel Tree stands near the entrance of the Cairo Wal-Mart and has scores of paper ornaments, each listing a local needy child’s toy request, hanging from its branches.
Shoppers are encouraged to pick an ornament and purchase the corresponding toy, turning it in unwrapped to a Wal-Mart employee before leaving. Toys purchased at other stores may be turned in by calling Johnson, 229-377-5048.
“This is something to make the lives of our less fortunate citizens a little brighter during this season, when we’re supposed to be thinking about others. It couldn’t be done without a lot of volunteers and supporters – individuals, church groups, banks, businesses, clubs, civic groups. There are so many, I can’t single out anyone. The generosity of Grady County is unparalleled. The donations made throughout the year have been significant, even in this tough economic time,” Johnson says.
Monetary donations to the Help Agency may be made throughout the year by mailing a check made payable to “Grady County Help Agency” to P.O. Box 1452, Cairo, GA 39828.
The Help Agency’s annual Christmas project has been helping local needy for around 20 years, Johnson says.

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