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Central Georgians help kids impacted by Kentucky tornadoes with toy drive

Scott Hodges and Jared Averill are encouraging others to help those in need.

BYRON, Ga. — As thousands of Americans begin to pick up the pieces following dozens of deadly tornadoes in the mid-west; Central Georgians are coming together to help those in need.

A Byron business owner and a Cordele firefighter are gathering toys to help kids in Kentucky affected by the disaster.

Within the first day, folks around Central Georgia contributed $4,000 to help make sure kids in Kentucky wake up to toys on Christmas morning.

Scott Hodges and Jared Averill have been helping those in need for a long time; both men have a background in firefighting.

"There's always something good to do. It's about serving others and doing things for other people, so it makes it easier to morph into doing stuff like this because it's basically an attitude that we've been trained to have," Averill said. 

This isn't the first time they've helped during a natural disaster.

"We got together with a group of guys and provided physical labor. Whether it be to clean up a yard or open a roadway, just to do something," Averill said.

And now with this toy drive, they want to encourage the younger generation to pay it forward.

"Friday we are going to take some kids here from the middle school and some money that people have given us. We are going to take them and let them go shopping for these kids, and we're trying to just teach our future generations to do the right thing," Hodges said.

They are looking for any kind of toys; including board games, stuffed animals, and dolls.

"It's the outlook that they could have. They are in a bad situation, so if we could just make them smile temporarily, give them something to think about, it could maybe make a difference for them in the weeks ahead," Averill said.

Hodges and Averill coordinated their campaign with Byron Middle School and the Gray County School District in Kentucky. They say the toys will be on their way to Kentucky come Monday.

The drop off spots include:

  • Byron Middle School 
  • Andy Thomas State Farm Insurance 
  • Byron Tire Pros 
  • Allan's Automotive and Alignment 
  • Hedge Row Landscaping
  • Byron Printing and Boutique 
  • Ms. Patricia’s School of Dance & Gymnastics 
  • Wayne Frier Homes 
  • People's Propane (Byromville)
  • Flint River Insurance Agency (Byromville)
  • Grinders Meat Company (Cordele)
  • Kountry Sporting goods (Montezuma)
  • The Buck Stop (Vienna)
  • Crisp County Primary School (Cordele)
  • Colony Bank (Cordele)
  • Annie Belle Clark Primary School (Tifton)
  • Carrol’s Sausage & Meats (Ashburn)
  • The Knoxville Store (Roberta)


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