The City of Social Circle will be doing its part to make the holiday season special for residents of Georgia’s hospitals serving persons with developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs by participating in the Mayor’s Christmas Motorcade program. The program relies on citizen participation to donate gifts for the patients, many of whom would not receive gifts or be recognized without this program.
GMA began the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade in 1959 at the request of then-Governor Ernest Vandiver as a way of providing holiday gifts for the patients of Georgia’s mental health and retardation hospitals. The program is also aimed at raising the awareness of the needs of Georgia’s mental hospitals.
There are currently five regional mental health hospitals in the state, serving some 3,200 Georgians. Many of these clients have lived in the hospital facility for much of their lives and receive little, if any, support from their families. Without the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, the staff at these hospitals have told us, many of their clients would not receive a gift for the holidays. The City of Social Circle will be delivering their donations to the East Central Regional Hospital in August on December 7.
The Christmas spirit demonstrated by cities during the Motorcade extends beyond the holiday season. Any gifts not handed out during Christmas are used for client birthdays or given to newly arrived clients, who may need many of the items. In this way, cities help the hospitals celebrate special occasions year-round and help the hospitals meet the needs of their clients.