What started out as a senior project at Lakeside High School for Christopher Turner became Santa's Miracle Funds, a fundraising effort that provides holiday gifts for families of sick or disabled children at Walton Rehabilitation Hospital.
Mr. Turner, along with several local organizations and individuals, was recognized at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon and awards ceremony Nov. 16 at Augusta Country Club.
"I wanted to raise money throughout the year for children whose parents cannot provide Christmas gifts because of the medical bills," Mr. Turner said.
Now a freshman at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Mr. Turner provided lunch for 52 sick children and their siblings and allowed each child a visit with Santa. The children and their siblings each received $100 gift certificates to Toys "R" Us.
Marion White Linder received the Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer award for her work with the Children's Miracle Network telethon, which raises more than $700,000 a year for the Medical College of Georgia's Children's Medical Center.
"Philanthropy is one of those things that comes from the heart," said Debby Kalliokoski, the vice president of resource development with the United Way of the CSRA. "We are able to thank those corporations and individuals who help meet the needs of our community."
Other award winners are Dr. A. Bleakley Chandler Jr., for Outstanding Philanthropist; Westinghouse Savannah River Co., Outstanding Corporation/Foundation; The Augusta-Fort Gordon chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Outstanding Volunteer Association; Helen Hendee, Outstanding Fundraising Professional; and Mr. Turner, Anne Randall Hatcher and Caitlin King, Outstanding Youth Volunteers.
Reach Rebecca A. Smith at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.