Georgia’s House District 56 state representative “Able” Mable Thomas recognizes that thousands of parents across the metropolitan Atlanta area are unemployed and displaced. While focusing on keeping a roof over their family’s heads and food on the table, parents may see Christmas as a big disappointment because they can’t afford to purchase gifts and meet the commercialized demands that complement the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
“If there was ever a time families needed an economic boost it is right now during the Christmas season,” shares Thomas, who is also the founder of the nonprofit Greater Vine City Opportunities Program (GVCOP), which provides a range of services including job development, training and research.
“We want to remove the worries of unemployed parents who thought they might not be able to give their children anything on Christmas,” adds Tiffani Howard, founder and president of Stimulate America Inc., a nonprofit organization that addresses the economic challenges of American citizens by providing resources to assist them in their recovery.
Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond dressed up as Santa Claus and explained this has been his gift to the community for years. “This has grown into a second job to be a Santa Claus all over west and southwest Atlanta. There’s nothing like dressing up like Santa Claus and spreading Christmas joy,” says Bond.
Hundreds of children and their parents were treated to an afternoon of fun, toys including bicycles, games and dolls, lunch and musical performances at the Salvation Army/Bellwood Boys and Girls Club located at 777 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in Atlanta.
Community partners included Chick-Fil-A, United Corp International Kitchen & Bath Showrooms, and People United Foundation. –yvette caslin