Last November the Mountain Regional Library and Blairsville VA Clinic outreach teams met to discuss projects to benefit our communities.David Kraft mentioned there were a large number of homeless and very needy Veterans in our three county areas and wondered if we could do anything to assist them. This led to the decision to include all of the Towns, Union and Fannin folks in need. Our local food banks do an excellent job of providing groceries but what about toilet paper, toiletries, grooming aids, and soap, etc. Then we thought about the cold weather and thought socks, gloves and how comforting a warm, dry and clean pair of socks would be.
“Care to Share” was born. Since this was the first year we truly did not think we would have a huge response – and truly underestimated the wonderful and generous hearts of all who live and work in our Tri-county area. Men on the Move provided 24 collection boxes and they were placed throughout Fannin, Towns and Union Counties. Each Library in the Mountain Regional Library System (Fannin County Public Library, Towns County Public Library, Union County Public Library, and Mountain Regional Headquarters) had a box as well as all United Community Banks, Ingles, North Georgia News, Union County Chamber of Commerce, Busy Bee Printing, and The Bargain Zone. North Georgia News kept the community aware each week of the project and encouraging everyone to contribute – we all have a spare roll of toilet paper or extra shampoo. The Chamber of Commerce sent weekly email blasts to all of its members. When John and Janice Cochran of Young Harris Pharmacy heard about what was happening they promptly ordered over 10 cases of shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste and toothbrushes. Two donors came forward one giving 120 pairs of socks and the other 100 pairs of gloves. The VFW in Hiawassee contributed 75 warm shirts and jackets.
When collection day arrived on December 18th the Mountain Regional Library van made four trips around to collect items. The response was so amazing and wonderful One volunteer, Donna Kraft, visiting for the holidays called her friend (Bob Tonder of East Ellijay) who had graduated with her from Eden High School in 1947 and asked him to come over to Young Harris and help. Library volunteer, Julie Andrews joined Donna and Bob in helping to get everything organized and boxed/bagged. Sandra Kraft, Training and Outreach Coordinator, MRLS said “these were the “Care to Share” angels. Without their help and hard work for days we would not have been able to get this done. They have given countless hours and enjoyed every minute of the hard work.”
As a result of our caring communities response, 60 boxes for Veterans were prepared (soap, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, shaving cream, razors, warm shirt, gloves, socks and more) and taken to the local VA Clinic where they will ensure each Vet in need will receive his/her “Care to Share” box. Each area food bank, Fannin County, Towns County, Union County, and Mountain Presbyterian Church, received large quantities of the paper products, grooming aids, toiletries and more.
Everyone at the Mountain Regional Library System and the Blairsville VA Clinic thank each and every one of you for your generous spirit. Thanks to you we were able to reach out to more of our friends in need and make this a brighter time for them. Thank you to our area merchants and businesses who were instrumental in providing a place to donate. Thank you to our area food pantries so we had area wide distribution points. Each of you did a wonderful, fabulous job.