With the economy still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, the Whitfield County Fire Department and Dalton Shriners weren’t sure how much money they would be able to collect at this year’s Boot Drive.
But the coronavirus didn’t stop local motorists from dipping into their wallets. In fact, generous drivers donated a record-setting $31,324.26 during the “Whitfield Firefighters and Dalton Shriners Team Up for Kids” boot drive.
Passing motorists dropped bills and coins into fire boots on Oct. 3 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at five intersections, including Cleveland Highway and the North Bypass, Cleveland Highway and Ga. Highway 2, Airport Road and Chatsworth Highway, Highway 41 and Connector 3, and Highway 201 and Highway 41.
The two groups praised motorists for their spirit of giving as collections added up more than $8,000 higher than the 2019 total of $22,972.89, quite an accomplishment in four hours time.
Seventy-five percent of the money collected will go toward treating young burn victims at Shriners’ hospitals, including one in Cincinnati supported by the Dalton Shriners.
The other 25 percent will go toward a program coordinated by the Whitfield County firefighters and other public safety agencies called “Santa in Uniform,” which will provide Christmas gifts for underprivileged children chosen by agencies in Whitfield County.
“On behalf of the Whitfield County Fire Department and the Dalton Shriners, we would like to give a big thank you to all the passing motorists who continue to make our annual boot drive a huge success, blessing so many children in making a difference in their lives. This event has always been a team effort, and every passing motorist is part of that team. We are amazed at how our community supports us,” a spokesman for the organizations said.