"When we opened up our company originally we said 'OK, we want to actually give back to the community,'" Robert Vaughn, owner of Alpha & Omega Landscaping said. "Initially what we started doing is giving out 10 percent of our gross profit and we just decided that wasn't good enough."
Vaughn's company is offering free fall leaf cleanups in exchange for donations of toys, clothing, food, blankets and children's books as they gear up for their first Spread the Joy event.
"It's hard to get people to do donations because you've got all these other organizations that are pretty big," Vaughn said. "Unfortunately, you don't see where all this stuff goes. So with us, we decided OK, everybody works for what they have. So, if people are more inclined to want to donate to a company that is willing to do something for them, because that's just the world we live in, to ensure donations we said OK, let's do fall leaf clean-up in exchange for a boys or girls toy, food, all that kind of stuff -- stuff that we can give the people."
The Bartow business is striving to have a minimum of 500 toys by the week of Christmas under a tree in a central location where the community will be invited.
"We want enough to give out to the kids and hopefully have enough food to feed them and if they need clothes, we'll have it all for them," Vaughn said. "That way, people can see where their donations are going and they will all be invited to that event. That's what it all comes down to."
Although the gifts are to be given in the spirit of the holidays, Vaughn says that the company's goal and mission is to offer help all year.
"This isn't something we're just doing for Christmas," he said. "It's something we'll do year-round because everybody's hungry all the time."
Those willing to donate will receive a free leaf clean-up from Alpha & Omega.
"Leaves can damage a lawn for next year, so this is both beneficial for the person making the donation and beneficial for the children as well," Vaughn said. "Leaves are a nuisance [and] it's something we can take care of."
Spread the Joy begins today and will last through the week of Christmas.
Anyone wishing to donate or participate with the company may call 770-334-2686 or visit their website at www.alphaandomegacustomlandscaping.com. An events page is set up for donations and further information on how to be involved.