The Thomson Fire Department kicked off the Mayors' Christmas Motorcade by collecting donations at Walmart last Saturday.
For 53 years, Thomson has joined cities across the state to collect gifts for patients at Georgia's seven regional mental hospitals.
According to a news release, many of the patients have spent most of their lives at these hospitals and have little support or contact with friends or family. The hospitals rely on donations so each patient can enjoy the holidays.
"Over the years, it's become one of our projects that's very important to us," said Thomson Fire Chief Rick Sewell. "A lot of those folks have been there a long time, and some of them have a bleak Christmas."
The fire department will collect donations at Walmart on Saturday and Nov. 12 as well.
"It's a good project, and I appreciate what our fire department does for it," said Mayor Kenneth Usry. "We usually donate between $5,000 and $7,000 each year."
All donations will be delivered to East Central Regional Hospital in Augusta on Dec. 8.
Usry said he encourages businesses, civic organizations, churches, schools and any other local groups to participate.
Checks should be made payable to the 2011 Mayors' Christmas Motorcade and dropped off or mailed to the Thomson Fire Department at 228 McCommons St., Thomson, GA 30824.
Donations of new and unwrapped gifts should be brought to the fire station. The patients have many needs this holiday season, including new clothing, personal care items, games and CDs.
For more information, contact the mayor at (706) 595-1781 or the fire chief at (706) 595-6133.