Sugar Hill holds holiday food, toy drive

SUGAR HILL - Sugar Hill and North Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry are asking community members to help them reach an important goal for the upcoming holidays.

The two are teaming up to provide needy children and families with food this Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as toys for Christmas.

City Clerk Jane Whittington said the city's been involved in the drive for more than four years, happily collecting toys and holiday food fixings.

"It's one charity we can get involved in and we can see it going back within the community," Whittington said. "They need our help, and it gives us a good feeling to know we're helping those families."

The collection officially began Thursday and will continue through Dec. 18 with drop-off sites at the Sugar Hill Community Center, 1166 Church St. and City Hall, 4988 W. Broad St.

Dry and canned goods and any type of food item that won't go bad in the co-op's food pantry is wanted for the drive. In addition, unwrapped toys and even wrapping paper, Whittington said, are on the co-op's list of collectables.

According to the ministry's Web site, more than 1,200 people were provided with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals last year, the ministry gave more than 1,000 children toys for Christmas and provided winter coats to more than 200 people as well in 2006.

Year-round, the cooperative ministry provides groceries, financial assistance, spiritual support and clothing to needy Gwinnett families in Buford, Sugar Hill and Suwanee. More information is available on its Web site at www.northgwinnettcoop.org or by calling 770-271-9793.

Whittington said city volunteers and employees made several trips to the co-op during last year's drive, dropping off numerous boxes of food items and toys.

In years past, Whittington said community members have been very generous with their donations.

"What helps here at City Hall is they come in to pay their bills or to go to the post office and they make a drop then," Whittington said.

Donations can be made from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at City Hall or Sugar Hill's Community Center. Whittington said donation bins are at the front of each building.

SideBar: If you donate

' What: Holiday food and toy drive

' When: Through Dec. 18

' Donation sites: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Sugar Hill Community Center, 1166 Church St. and Sugar Hill City Hall, 4988 W. Broad St.

' Collection items: Toys and dry food goods