Totes 2 Tots campaign ahead

STOCKBRIDGE — Organizers will kick off the 12th Annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase campaign Friday, Jan. 17, to help needy children.

The one-day drive, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is sponsored by Northside Hospital affiliate Georgia Cancer Specialists with help from the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services and other community sponsors.

There are 25 Georgia Cancer Specialists offices statewide that will participate in the effort to collect new or nearly new backpacks and kid-sized suitcases to deliver to foster children.

Organizers said roughly 7,500 Georgia children, from infants to teenagers, are in the foster care system. Many of them shuffle their belongings in grocery and garbage bags when they are removed from their homes.

However, since Totes 2 Tots was first launched in 2003, the annual volunteer event has collected and distributed more than 33,000 backpacks and suitcases to give those children something more permanent.

Originally held on Martin Luther King Day as a way to honor King’s vision and give back to the community, the event is now held on the preceding Friday, to kick-off the weekend of service.

Totes 2 Tots Chairman Darrell Dobey said the event is the only one-day charity that collects backpacks and suitcases for foster children in Georgia.

“My goal is that each and every one of those kids would be able to receive a bag for their personal belongings,” said Dobey.

He pointed out that if each office collects 300 bags, the charity would exceed its goals of reaching all of Georgia’s foster children.

Dr. Cheryl Jones, vice president and chief medical officer at Georgia Cancer Specialists, said she and her staff look forward to honoring Dr Martin Luther King’s memory with the annual campaign.

“This is the major community service project for GCS, and it demonstrates our commitment to the foster children and to their future success in their communities,” said Jones.

Participants are asked to drop off a new or nearly new bag at their nearest Georgia Cancer Specialists office Friday, Jan. 17, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Stockbridge office is a central location for Henry and Clayton county residents, located just off of Ga. 138, about a block west of I-75 at Exit 228. The address is 1045 Southcrest Drive, Suite 200.

Other local drop-off sites include: the Fayetteville office at 132 Old Norton Road, Suite 200; the Rockdale facility 1501 Milstead Road, Suite 110 in Conyers; the Griffin office at 747 South 8th St., Suite C; and the Camp Creek facility at 3886 Princeton Lakes Way SW, Suite 200 in Atlanta.

To make a financial donation, visit give.northside.com/totes2tots.