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The gift of giving helps make holidays brighter for many
Manna House food donation 1

With Christmas just two days away and many in need during the pandemic the folks in Liberty County continue to spread holiday cheer by helping others in need.

Last week several companies and organizations lent a helping hand to spread some holiday cheer.

Feeding those in need

A friendly in-office competition will help feed roughly 750 families this holiday season. According to owner Leigh Smiley the staff at Coldwell Banker Southern Coast (sales office) and Southern Coast Properties (property management office) stepped up their efforts this year.

“Some gave food, some gave money, and some gave their time and muscle,” Smiley said. “We had all hands on deck between Coldwell Banker Southern Coast, and Southern Coast Properties and the Liberty Chamber staff also made a donation of food instead of prizes for our contest.”

On Dec. 17, Smiley’s crew dropped off 3,700 nonperishable items and $690 in cash to purchase perishable items for Christmas. Smiley said last year the company donated 2,800 items to Liberty County Manna House and Executive Director Reverend Katrina Deason.

Smiley said she was in awe of her co-workers who accomplished this monumental task in only two weeks.

“We had a revolving door of agents and staff dropping off food items every day,” Smiley said. “With my office still closed to the public, the cheer these guys had each time they dropped off food was priceless and much needed. My front office looked like a food bank. We will definitely make this an annual tradition.”

Smiley also thanked community partners who helped with donations and prizes for the contest.

These partners included: RTS Homes, Kelly Ambrose with New American Funding, Jody Smiley Landscaping, Low Country Turf and Ornamental, Southern Coast Properties, JM Allen Homes, Evans Home Inspections, and Coastal Plumbing Services.

“It’s always humbling and a blessing to give back to the community which blesses us,” Smiley said. “And even more so this year because of the Pandemic which brought on more people in need.”

On Dec. 19, Riceboro native Chris Stacy reported that 150 holiday meal baskets were handed out during a food giveaway that was partnered with Manna House

Giving gifts of joy

Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Sustainment Brigade at Fort Stewart, district staff, and members of Mount Olivet United Methodist Church participated in the second annual Liberty County School System Toy Drive by donating gifts to eighty-five families in the school system. On Dec. 16th, LCSS school social workers and soldier volunteers loaded toys into parents’ cars as they drove up to the Board of Education to receive the gifts for their children. Due to the generosity of the soldiers and other stakeholders, 175 children received gifts to help make their Christmas morning brighter this year. Lead school social worker, Mrs. Yolanda Sharpe, and members of Student Services began organizing the toy drive in November with the support of Corporal Ashley Thomas (3SB Family Readiness Liaison and Sponsorship NCO) and MSG Cornelius Goodwin (AFSBN-Stewart Senior Enlisted Advisor).

“I would like to thank Fort Stewart soldiers, central office, and our community stakeholders for their support, time, and effort. The toy drive was a huge success and is a blessing to our students and families during this holiday season,” Sharpe said.”

Also last week, the LCSS’s Department for Exceptional Learning received a large donation of comfort items from the nonprofit organization “When My Norm Became Rare, Inc.”  The goal of the organization is to raise awareness about a rare condition known as Lissencephaly.  

Lissencephaly is a rare condition that affects brain development by preventing the brain from developing folds and grooves like a typical brain. The organization, headed by Mrs. Monique Lovely (President) and her husband, Jermaine Lovely (Vice President), donated neck pillows, stuffed animals, and socks for our students.  These items will be used throughout the county to provide our students with sensory friendly supports.  For more information on “When My Norm Became Rare, Inc,” visit the group’s website at 

The Trendsetters Motorcycle Club held a gift giveaway Saturday Dec. 19. Gifts were handed out to roughly 100 kids members of the Trendsetters Motorcycle club visited various apartment complexes, with two trucks full of toys, games, and bicycles. This was the clubs 18th year of doing this event. 

For photos of the various giveaways visit:

– Patty Leon, Lewis Levine and Lawrence Dorsey compiled this report. 

VIDEO: Trendsetters toy giveaway

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Fort Stewart toy giveaways

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