After learning of shortages at the Augusta Toys for Tots program, a radio talk show host and an electrical union decided to do something about it.
The Augusta Building Trades, made up of 17 unions, worked together to collect monetary donations. The union, which contributes to the organization each year, initially planned to raise $12,000. It made a $41,000 donation Friday during Friday’s special event to recognize the program.
“When we heard about (shortages) that just inspired us to try to collect even more,” said Will Salters, business manager and financial secretary for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “So we reached out into the community once again and asked if they could give a little bit more.”
Grace Anderson, the director of the Augusta Toys for Tots program, said the additional money will help serve more than 45,000 children in the community.
“I am truly ecstatic and want to thank God because I never lost faith,” she said. “I’m thankful for the people in the community who actually came through with helping.”
In addition to Friday’s contribution, talk-show host Bobby Bones provided money to replace 58 bikes stolen two months ago. He said the act was personal.
“That touched me, and I hate to see that that happened and I felt like I could provide what they had taken from them so they could at least get their feet back underneath them,” he said.
People attending the ceremony went silent as they closed their eyes to reminisce on childhood Christmas memories that for most consisted of waking up early to holiday music and food and gathering around a Christmas tree to unwrap presents. But they were asked to consider an alternative scenario.
“A child gets up out of bed (and) goes out into another room,” said Nick Fiore, the Plant Vogtle coordinator. “There may or may not be a Christmas tree there. There’s no presents under the tree. The parents for whatever reason couldn’t afford to do that. Just imagine how they feel.”