Company sponsors toy drive at party

DULUTH - Virtual Properties Realty sponsored a Toys for Tots drive Dec. 12 at its third annual Christmas party.

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Toni Guevara and her husband, Master Sgt. Giuliano Guevara, greeted hundreds of real estate agents and guests of Virtual Properties Realty, Georgia Land and Commercial Solutions, and Platter Realty.

The holiday celebration at the Duluth corporate headquarters garnered numerous toys and financial contributions.

Operation Round Up makes difference

MONROE - If people or organizations find themselves in hard times, the holiday season can make those times seem even harder. But Walton EMC's Operation Round Up is making a difference all around the customer-owned power company's 10-county territory this December.

More than 48,000 Walton EMC customer-owners allow their electric bills to be rounded up to the next dollar each month. The resulting change is pooled, amounting to a significant sum to help those in need.

Walton Electric Trust, a volunteer group of customer-owners, administers the funds. They carefully research and review every request.

Here are the latest disbursements, amounting to $56,694:

Seventeen families with various needs were given a total of $29,754.

Walton County Empty Stocking Fund received $500 to help purchase food for 375 families.

Monroe's Grandparent's Gift Shop, a store enabling low-income seniors to purchase Christmas gifts for little or no money, was awarded $1,500.

Parkview High School's Special Education Department was given $2,500 to purchase kitchen equipment for their Life Skills Apartment. The apartment helps handicapped students learn daily living skills.

Athens YMCA's Adaptive Swim Program, serving disabled children, got a $2,340 boost.

Ferst Foundation of Madison, which provides free books to children, received $1,000 to further its mission.

Gwinnett's Asian-American Resource Center was given $1,000 to support its program of transitional rental housing to prevent homelessness.

The FISH4KIDS program in Monroe, a program providing summer sack lunches and after school snacks for children, received $5,000.

The Social Circle, Monroe and Lawrenceville Boys and Girls Clubs were awarded $5,000 for their after school "Power Hour" program.

The Tree House, a children's advocacy center in Winder, got $1,000 for their child abuse prevention efforts.

Loganville's Barnabas Ministries, a program providing training and housing to men on their release from prison, received $2,000.

Hope Clinic of Lawrenceville was granted $5,000 for their Compassion Gap program that provides medical care for uninsured working people.

Operation Round Up has been in service for 10 years, awarding $1,737,417 to worthy causes since its inception.

'Fight for Charity' brings in toys

DULUTH - Wild Bill's Fight Night on Dec. 19 netted more than 4,000 toys for the Atlanta branch of Toys for Tots.

Anyone who donated a new toy at the door was admitted to the event for free.

"This was a success in every category," said David Oblas, co-promoter for the event. "We initially didn't know what to expect when we first announced the event. But as we got closer to the event the number of toys kept growing and growing. The night of the fight people were bringing two and three toys per person, instead of the required one toy per person."