Tara Reid said she is thankful beyond words for the kindness of local residents, who pooled their efforts to create a Christmas for her three daughters.
The single mother, now a McDonough resident, said she was forced to move her children recently from their home in Pike County, back to Henry County, with little money to help provide them with Christmas gifts.
Reid, 39, said she lost her job with Ingles Markets, Inc., in October, as a result of the down-turned economy. "I moved back up here,"she said. "I got a job working at Burger King on Nov. 1, and things have been falling in place for us ever since."
Reid is divorced, but said she continues to have a good relationship with the father of her children, and her former in-laws, who all live in McDonough. She said she lives is in a spare bedroom at her former father-in-law's McDonough home, and has begun to put down roots in the Atlanta suburb where she was raised.
She has a new church, the Way of the Cross Baptist in McDonough, which was instrumental in helping brighten the Christmas holiday for her and her chkldren. "Nobody there really knew me, because I joined about a month ago," Reid said. Despite that, the church wanted to help, she said, and submitted her name to a group wanting to sponsor a needy family for Christmas.
The group is a coalition of business people in the area, including members of four Allstate Insurance offices in Henry County, Orion Restoration of Stockbridge, and Wade Collision of Jonesboro.
Michael Lane and Robert Wade, owner-agents with Allstate Insurance, spearheaded the sponsorship with the help of Jason Cash and Chris Evans, the owners of Orion Restoration. All are under the age of 35. Michael Moore, territory manager for Kellogg Company, joined the others, along with Brenda Wade Robert Wade's mother, and the owner of Wade Collision in donating snacks, gifts and money to Reid's family.
"It was out of the blue," said Reid. "They did this for a family they didn't even know. For somebody to go that extra mile still shows me that there are people that care and know the true meaning of Christmas.
"I can't even put into words how much it meant to me," she said. "They have done more for me than they will ever know. They [her children] had the best Christmas they've ever had."
Reid and her daughters, 5-year-old Savannah Grace, and 4-year-old twins, Laura Beth and Julia Ann, received enough gifts to possibly provide gladings for two families, according to Michael Moore, who was on hand when the family collected their gifts on Dec. 23.
"It was emotional," he said. "I'm glad they got this, they definitely deserve it, because the stuff they asked for, there were only a few things. They appreciated every single thing they got."
The group of local business people is planning to repeat its family Christmas sponsorship next year, according to Buffy Leonard, an Allstate sales producer, who participated in this inaugural sponsorship.
Leonard said the group may also provide for the area's senior citizens, as it did on Dec. 13, 2009, in a visit to the Mt. Carmel Personal Care Home in McDonough, where group members gave elderly residents 45 care packages filled with fruit, cookies, candy and drinks.
"I thought it was amazing," Leonard said. "For us to bse able to be there was enough for me this Christmas. This is what I love to do."