Paying it Forward

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

Christmas is the quintessential season of giving, where loved ones exchange gifts as tokens of love and appreciations. But nothing captures the Christmas Spirit more than giving to those in need—to those who have been forgotten. Some local organizations are already starting to prepare the good deeds they intend to do during the Christmas Holiday. That’s why the Plantation Ladies Club (PLC) set their sights on senior citizens during the Christmas holiday. Local senior citizens receive a small, but meaningful, present each year because of The Christmas Shoebox project orchestrated by the Plantation Ladies Club (PLC) in Reynolds, Georgia. The PLC, a 500-member club for women that began 25 years ago out of the Reynolds Plantation, is not only concerned with luncheons, book clubs, and socials.

“Giving back is important to us,” said Martha Franks, president of the PLC. “We want to use our time and resources to pay it forward.”

Franks is looking forward to another year of delivering shoeboxes full of small gifts to seniors who need some Christmas cheer the most.

“For the majority of these senior citizens, this is the only gift they receive at Christmastime. It’s a very heartfelt moment,” said Franks, who noted many of the seniors in this program are Meals-On-Wheels recipients.  “It brightens their day. It gives them a moment of joy and it makes their entire Christmas. I deliver Meals-On-Wheels, so I know so many of these seniors have nothing.”

Each shoebox is filled with items such as toiletries, hats, gloves, snacks, games, cards, puzzles, ornaments, socks, and magnifying glasses. The PLC designates boxes specifically for men or women and then also feature a unisex option. After each box is assembled members of the PLC wrap each one with elaborate care.

“They are wrapped just beautifully,” said Franks. “We really go all out to make these shoeboxes a beautiful gift.”

“One gentlemen would not open his shoebox because he thought it looked too beautiful to open. He said he just liked to look at it,” added Franks.

The PLC has assembled shoeboxes filled with a variety of gifts for seniors for the last 10 years, starting out with only two senior citizen communities.

“We have really grown,” said Franks. “In just the time that I have been here, we have grown from donating to two facilities to now eight facilities.” Last year the PLC assembled 500 shoeboxes.  This year the project is being coordinated by PLC member Pat Chappell. “She is doing an excellent job,” said Franks.

Franks noted the PLC’s long history of charitable endeavors.

“You know, way back when we started, it was a way for new people in the community to make friends and find fun activities to do with other people,” said Franks. “But we soon wanted to do more than just socialize. This is just who we are. We at the PLC are about giving back and paying it forward. We are about helping others as well as having a wonderful time together. We eat together, pray together and socialize together while trying to give back to our community. “

In addition to the Christmas Shoebox project, the PLC rotates supporting five other local charities. If you are interested in donating to the PLC for the Christmas Shoebox project, you can contact Martha Franks at: (706) 706-453-6459. You can also email her at Marthafranks5@gmail.com.

“If people want to help us help others, we will gladly accept donations,” said Franks.

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