It’s still three weeks away, but the carolers, volunteers and bountiful gifts under the tree at the Village at Deaton Creek in South Hall mark the start of Christmas for Janet Walden.
“When you walk in and you see that much generosity, it’s the Christmas spirit,” said Walden, the executive director of Hall-Dawson Court Appointed Special Advocate program.
The tradition predates Walden’s leadership at CASA, an organization of volunteers helping Juvenile Court judges make the best possible decisions regarding a child’s home.
“It started from a woman at the Village at Deaton Creek and her husband who came to the village and wanted to do something for CASA specifically,” Walden said.
The 2017 Scrooge Christmas Toy and Food Drive started Nov. 26, where residents brought unused toys and nonperishable food to the village’s clubhouse lobby.
Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies, CASA staff and volunteers helped unload the truck Monday afternoon at The Little House on Washington Street in Gainesville, where CASA is housed. The U-Haul truck was stuffed to the brim with toys, sports equipment, games and bicycles.
“A lot of these are going to be geared more toward the younger kids. We have about 470 kids that we’re serving right now, so this will go a long way,” Walden said.