January 19, 2012 (Atlanta) — Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS)—a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S.— collected 4,400 bags during the tenth annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive for foster children. Twenty-five GCS offices across Georgia—including 17 in Metro Atlanta— participated in the drive.
30,000 new or nearly new bags have been collected and distributed since 2003.
GCS Chief Operating Officer Dr. Wendy Hawke Lenz said, “The tenth annual Totes 2 Tots captured the spirit of Georgia Cancer Specialists and our practice-wide commitment to helping others. I am proud of our efforts, and am grateful for all of those who donated bags, their time, and their energy to this worthy cause. We believe that we honored Dr. King’s dream as we provided tangible reminders to the foster children in our state that someone cares about them.”
Totes 2 Tots delivers new or nearly new backpacks and kid-sized suitcases to foster children in Georgia—from infants to teenagers—many of whom must shuffle their belongings from home to home in garbage bags during frequent relocations. The annual volunteer event was first launched by GCS in 2003 and has collected and distributed 30,000 bags. Originally held on Martin Luther King Day as a way to honor Dr. King’s vision and give back to the community, Totes is now held on the Friday before MLK Day as a kickoff to a weekend of service.
GCS partners with the Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to distribute the bags in the counties in which they’re collected.
“The Department of Human Services is extremely gratified to all those involved with the Totes 2 Tots initiative. The program represents compassionate recognition of the trauma often involved for children impacted by the child welfare system,” said DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese at a special ceremony celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Totes 2 Tots program. “Having a decent traveling case or overnight bag to carry a child’s belongings may seem like a small thing, but, in reality, these totes contain not only quickly gathered items, but the fears, uncertainties, hopes, and dreams of children caught in a whirlwind not of their own making. I thank those who contributed and encourage all to consider being a part of this program.”
In 2005, WSB-TV recognized the importance of the drive and agreed to support it as a part of its Family 2 Family Project. This was the eighth year that GCS and WSB-TV partnered for Totes 2 Tots. Family 2 Family is the longest running locally produced, comprehensive, station-wide public service effort in Georgia. It includes shows such as People 2 People, a weekly half-hour public affairs program hosted by Jocelyn Dorsey that chronicles events and newsmakers in metro Atlanta.
Georgia Cancer Specialists is a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S. and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice supports more than 200,000 patient visits each year. GCS offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including wellness counseling and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 29 offices, 45 physicians, and more than 500 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta, and North and Central Georgia. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at www.gacancer.com GCS is The Cancer Answer.