It's sweetheart time again at Thomson Health and Rehabilitation Center. Each year, residents at the center show their love by collecting canned food items to help others for Valentine's Day. A kick-off party was held Jan. 19 in the center's cafeteria.
Each staff member and resident participating in the drive had their few minutes to shine by giving a brief pep speech.
"It tickles me to think that we are doing something. And, I like it because it's not hard for me to get canned goods," resident Mildred Newsome said.
The event is competitive, because the male and female resident who collects the most canned goods are crowned "Mr. and Mrs. Sweetheart" on Valentine's Day.
"I just do all I can to help somebody. I always do the best I can, so y'all just look for me in the newspaper, because I'm going to work hard and win," said Emma Beard.
Ms. Beard was crowned Ms. Sweetheart two years ago. Last year, Dot Wilson was crowned Ms. Sweetheart and Henry Settles was Mr. Sweetheart.
Each resident that participates in the drive selects which local charity they want to collect for. The residents are paired with staff members, who assist them in making outside contacts and networking.
The center collected more than 3,000 canned goods and nonperishable items last year, which were donated to Manna, Agape Ministries and the McDuffie County Animal Shelter. Activities Director Tamicka Franklin said they hope to do the same this year.
"We want to wish everybody very good luck," she said during the kick-off. "We want to see the canned goods start pouring in. Last year, we couldn't hardly walk in our office because of all the boxes stacked around."
Many businesses around Thomson have a box to collect canned goods for Thomson Health and Rehab's Sweetheart Drive. Anyone wishing to donate for Manna or Agape should bring canned or nonperishable food. To help the animal shelter, bring pet food. Call Ms. Franklin at (706) 595-5574.