Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
As temperatures in Georgia drop to below freezing, Orthopaedic South Surgical Center in Morrow is doing its part to make sure those in Clayton's homeless community have something warm to wear.
On Thursday, the center will donate more than 150 coats and blankets to the Calvary Refuge Center in Forest Park.
According to Surgical Center Administrator Andrea Fann, the business has collected coats and blankets from employees and patients since the beginning of last month. On Thursday, State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Ellenwood), a member of the Calvary Refuge Center's board of directors, will accept the donations on behalf of the homeless shelter, she said.
"We've participated in health fairs for the community," Fann said. "This is the first time for the coat drive, and we are very pleased with the success. We've got all different sizes [of coats], from infants to adult. We have various types of blankets, from Afghans to comforters. It looks like there are some thermal blankets as well ... mostly from employees and staff, some from the community.
"Although it was short notice, we were able to have a successful drive and show that people care about each other," she added.
Gary Stewart, an orthopedic surgeon with Resurgens Orthopaedics and a partner in the surgical center, led the coat-and blanket-drive effort. He said he became familiar with Calvary Refuge Center's needs in 2007, after coordinating a foot-care and shoe-fitting event at the center.
"We [usually] do it [the shoe fitting] every year around Thanksgiving at the central homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta," Stewart said. "We did it at Calvary Refuge Center in 2007. When I was there, I was able to see that people were in need of more than just shoes.
"This is a population that seems to always be overlooked," he continued. "Everybody thinks about others during the holidays, but we tried to get the coats, because it's going to be cold well after the holidays. The coats and blankets [have] just flooded in. It just seemed like every employee had four or five coats and two or three blankets. It was just a true showing of love for other people."
Glanton said he collaborated with Stewart two years ago, when Stewart hosted the shoe-fitting event at the homeless shelter. He said he believes the surgical center's donation will make a big difference.
"Anytime you can get 150 coats for men, women, and children, particularly with the weather we are having, that is huge," Glanton said. "In homeless facilities, you can go and get a hot meal, but first thing in the morning, you have to leave that facility. In that situation, coats, gloves, and hats become particularly important. Anything that we can do to make things more comfortable for them, we need to do that."
According to Fann, the surgical center will continue its coat-and blanket-drive until the end of the business day on Thursday. Donations made after Thursday will also be taken to Calvary Refuge Center, she said.
Orthopaedic South Surgical Center is located at 6645 Lake Drive in Morrow. For more information, call (678) 422-4230.