Covid Death Spurs Toy Drive

Staff Written News

Taylor Atwater turns her grief into good to remember her father, Tony Atwater

By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

A young woman decided to turn her grief into generosity this Christmas after losing her father to COVID-19 over the summer. 

Taylor Atwater, 19, took to Facebook to orchestrate a toy giveaway in honor of her late father’s memory, Tony Atwater, a lifelong Madison resident who passed away in August. Tony, at the age of 53, was hospitalized for the coronavirus hours away from his family and loved ones at a South Carolina hospital due to a hospital bed-shortage in Georgia at the time. He died there on Aug. 18 after weeks of batting the deadly virus. 

Taylor was determined to follow in her father’s footsteps. 

“My father loved to put smiles on people’s faces and I just wanted to carry on the tradition,” said Taylor Atwater. “My father would have been so proud to see all the donations that came in and all the toys we gave away.”

Last Saturday, Taylor hosted a drive-through event at Morgan County High School for families to come and receive toys for Christmas. Taylor estimated about 300 toys were given away. 

“About 40 families came on Saturday,” said Taylor, who graduated from Morgan County High School. “We still had toys left over so we went to the projects and trailer park to give away the rest to children there.”

Taylor said over 100 people volunteered to donate money and toys after she posted on Facebook about wanting to start a toy drive to honor her father’s memory. 

“I want to thank the community for all the donations and all the help,” said Taylor. “We are already planning to make next year’s event even better.”

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