"It was really overwhelming," said Matt Wood, CMC's pharmacy operations manager and EAG chairman, about watching the students sift through and play with some of the donated items. "I had not thought that it would be received the way it was as far as just the look on the kids' faces as they were going through and eyeballing all the equipment.
"One of the little girls actually came up to me afterwards with tears in her eyes and said, 'Sir, are all of these toys going to be here tomorrow?' And it just broke my heart. ... It really moved me to see how much of a difference we really were making to these kids and that they were just overjoyed and so appreciative of everything that they were getting."
Emphasizing the CMC staff's willingness to support this cause, Wood said the EAG "adopted" the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County this year after an employee's husband visited the nonprofit and expressed some of its ongoing needs. In addition to the donated supplies, CMC also plans to furnish snacks each month and organize Halloween and Christmas parties for the youth.
For Gordon Gilley, chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, the support of organizations like CMC is essential to its operations. At two locations -- 642 Henderson Drive in Cartersville and 127 King St. in Adairsville -- the nonprofit offers youth ages 6 to 18 supplemental education and activities like arts and crafts, basketball and board games.
"We have a constant need for supplies, everything from paper products to food [items] to supplemental education, paper [and] pencils because we use so much of it at two clubs," Gilley said. "So the need is ever-present and folks like the [Cartersville] Service League and others have helped us out tremendously over the years, individually and collectively. [The Cartersville Medical Center is] the latest entity that's seen a need. I'm really obviously just elated that this other third-party entity saw fit to get engaged with our club.
"[Having community partners], it's our lifeblood. These third party collaborative partners, whether it's Cartersville Medical Center, Georgia Power, Service League, Shaw, I can literally go [down the] list, the city schools and United Way -- without it, we'd have to abbreviate services. Every time somebody walks in and either [volunteers] or in the case of Cartersville Medical Center [donates] supplies and equipment, every time they do that is a check that we don't have to write in very, very lean times, particularly with the supplies. [If] you've got 200-plus kids a day, you go through a lot of toilet paper, a lot of food [supplies], a lot of paper towels, a lot of Windex, a lot of cleaners. So it is just an ever-present need and once that need is addressed, guess what, it's there tomorrow."