A statewide project aimed at helping patients of Georgia’s mental health hospitals is getting some help locally.
The city of Dallas is accepting donations for the Georgia Municipal Association’s annual Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, which provides gifts to clients of the state’s six mental health hospitals. The project is in its 53rd year following its creation by then-First Lady Betty Vandiver.
Gifts collected during the Motorcade are used throughout the year to celebrate birthdays and other events, and as needed by new clients. Participating cities are sent a list of items needed by each hospital and then, on the date of the Motorcade, those items are delivered to the hospitals, which typically host parades and programs for clients and visitors.
“The city has always advertised it,” Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin Jr. said. “With my appointment to the Board of Directors of GMA several years ago, we became more involved.
“The project benefits the patients of the state's regional hospitals—most of them are adults with severe developmental disabilities or mental illness. Many have no family, or have been ‘dropped off’ there with little or no contact from family. Many are older whose parents have died or are no longer capable of taking care of them,” Austin added.
Those wishing to donate to the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade can drop off needed items or donations by cash or check at Dallas City Hall Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or at the Dallas Theater Box Office Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Items requested by the hospitals for their patients include personal care items, new clothing, entertainment items such as playing cards and board games, and snacks. A complete list of desired items can be found here.
The GMA is set to take donated items to the state’s mental hospitals in the coming weeks, with the first visit set for Nov. 29.
For more information on how to donate locally, call 770-445-5180.
While all community members may donate to the project, municipal leaders across the state are being asked to “Give $11 in Twenty-Eleven”—a challenge issued by Newnan Mayor Keith Brady, who chairs the Motorcade.
“We’ve got nearly 3,000 city officials in Georgia,” Brady said in a GMA release. “If every one of us gave $11 to the Motorcade it would have a big impact. Individually, $11 may not be much, but collectively, it could make this the biggest Motorcade event ever.”
Though $11 is the amount of Brady’s challenge, he said officials are welcome to give more, perhaps any other multiple of $11, such as $22 or $77. “At the very minimum,” he added, “I’d like to see everyone give $11, but any amount is welcome.
“There are still clients who do not have family to share the holidays with or to receive gifts from. It’s been our goal for more than half a century to be there for our fellow Georgians, and we will continue to do so.”