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Nursing home residents, staff help others through food drive

Residents of Thomson Health and Rehabilitation Center know the secret to a blessed life is by helping others. For the past three years, residents and associates of the nursing home took on several projects to help charities. In their most recent endeavor, they raised more than 3,400 canned goods for Manna, Inc., Agape Ministries and McDuffie County Animal Shelter in two weeks.

"I did the best I could and I thank everybody for what they did," resident Emma Beard said during the celebration party last Friday. "The Bible says blessed are the cheerful givers, and that's what we are. I couldn't do as much as I liked to, but I did what I could."

The canned food drive is held immediately before Valentine's Day each year and the residents who collect the most cans are crowned "Mr. and Ms. Sweetheart" during the celebration.

For 2010, Donna Galleges was crowned Ms. Sweetheart for collecting 625 cans, and Ernest Hester was crowned Mr. Sweetheart with 414 cans.

"This is an exciting time here at Thomson Health and Rehab," said Activities Director Tamicka Franklin. "What we have done is truly an accomplishment. I am truly proud of each resident and associate and to each community sponsor. My hat is off to you."

In years past, each participating resident was partnered with an associate, who would be their contact with outsiders in the community. This year, Ms. Franklin said organizations in the community got involved and sponsored a resident, too. The projects are organized by the activities department of the nursing home, and begins with a kick-off party and a final celebration.

"On behalf of (everybody here), I want to thank them because they gave me something to do," resident Franklin Shaw said. "When people reach out and help us help other people in the community, it's a reason to celebrate. This is love."

Ms. Franklin said the residents asked their family members and visitors for donations, and some called friends or businesses in the community. Twenty residents participated in all. Most of them gave a speech at the kick-off party and the crowning celebration. They received goody bags for their participation.

"I enjoy helping somebody else that needs help," resident Agnes Hobbs said. "It makes me feel good to be a part of this and help in any way I can. I enjoyed trying to help."

Web posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010

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