Madison County Food Bank director Bobbie Rooker was worried back in November that there wouldn’t be enough toys to bring smiles to needy kids in the county on Christmas morning.
“I was just thinking with the economy like it is, and with donations down, I was really nervous,” said Rooker. “But if we leave it in God’s hands, he makes it work.”
The long-time food bank director isn’t worried anymore.
She said Madison County citizens have turned out in force in 2013 to offer more toy donations than she’s seen as director.
“This is the largest amount I’ve ever seen donated,” said Rooker. “It’s just amazing. It’s been overwhelming the number of new people contributing.”
Rooker said about 400 needy children in Madison County will have smiles on their faces thanks to the countywide efforts by numerous individuals and organizations. She stood Friday with her assistant, Tracy Morgan, along with Sheriff Kip Thomas, Chief Deputy Shawn Burns and BOC chairman Anthony Dove looking at the food bank storage room filled to capacity with dolls, trucks, games and a wide assortment of other toys to get kids in the Christmas mood.
“Oh, this is great,” said Thomas, looking out at the packed room. “The people of Madison County taking care of the people of Madison County. We’re in a position where we can do it. So we need to do it.”
The sheriff’s office played a major role in getting toys collected. They held a toy drive of their own, another one in conjunction with the Rotary Club and an annual “toy ride” — a motorcycle ride fund-raiser — put on by Lt. David Patton and the county’s emergency services.
“I personally want to thank the sheriff’s department and all of his guys and girls that contributed,” said Dove. “I thank Bobbie and Tracy and all the work that they do and all the organizations in the county. Just about every organization was represented in giving and that includes the schools and daycares, the county employees. There’s just too many of them to name, but we just want to put a great big ‘Thank you’ out there and God bless each one.”
Rooker said food bank volunteers worked 179 hours taking applications and bagging up toys for all the families. She also thanked all the churches who contributed, as well as Apple Barn, Stuff-n-Such, Sweetwater Creek, Triple J Auctions, Shakerag’s, the senior center, Marketplace and the many citizens who played a role in collecting toys.
Rooker urged Madison County residents to continue the spirit of giving after Christmas.
“After Christmas, the need will continue to grow with our food situation and the cold weather,” she said.
To inquire about food donations, call 706-795-5465 or visit the food bank on Hwy. 98 near the recreation department.
The hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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