The Season of Giving


Have you given back to your community recently? The holiday season is a time of giving. This week in Athens, there are many events and opportunities in which you can give thanks and give back to people and the community.

Earlier today, Athens First Bank downtown hosted the Mail For Heroes event, where anyone could come in and write a holiday-themed thank you card to veterans.  The event was organized by the Red Cross and Director Laura Allen. She is sympathetic towards veterans and their families and wants to help them celebrate the holidays by thanking them for their service.

“They wanted to participate in the event because they’ve been deployed overseas,” said Laura. “They’ve been separated from their families and know and understand that it can be a lonely time to go through the holidays…and be away from your family.”

Linda Rader, an Athens First banker, wrote countless letters at the event earlier today. She explains that it’s personal to her, and she knows the impact one letter can make.

“It means everything,” said Linda. “I do know that when my nephew Drew was overseas, they would get different care packages and it would make them feel good, and all the guys and ladies would share all the information that they would get from their families and friends.”

Another event to promote giving this holiday season is the 21st Annual Holiday Benevolence Market, hosted by First Presbyterian Church dScreen Shot 2015-12-03 at 1.28.14 PMowntown. On Sunday Dec. 6 from noon, First Presbyterian Church, along with eight other congregations, will begin their event where anyone can come in and have a plethora of charities and non-profit organizations to choose to donate to. Carla Buss, coordinator of the event, says that she loves what it does for the community.

“It makes a difference here in Athens,” said Carla. “It just helps the agencies do what they need to do. We always get thank you notes from them saying that the contributions that people make at the benevolence market allow them to serve their clients better and I like being a part of that.”

The Benevolence Market will last until two o’clock that afternoon and anyone is welcome to come and donate.

A third similar Athens event is the Teddy Bear Toss. This will take place Friday Dec. 4 at the UGA Hockey game when they play College of CharlestScreen Shot 2015-12-03 at 4.27.58 PMon. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears to the game and there will be a designated time for them to throw out their teddy bears onto the ice. All proceeds will go to Toys for Tots.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering with the Red Cross, visit their website at

If you want to learn more information about the Annual Holiday Benevolence Market at First Presbyterian Church,

If you are interested in donating to Toys for Tots, visit their website

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