By Mary Elizabeth Dial, Staff Correspondent
Physicians Who Care spent the morning of Saturday, Dec. 10 shopping with underprivileged children at Wal-Mart in East Gadsden.
Physicians Who Care, a local patient advocacy and physician referral service, held the first Christmas shopping day approximately twenty years ago. Since then, it has become something of a tradition in the Gadsden area’s medical community. Each December, local doctors and healthcare workers and their families get up bright and early to meet with young children and escort them to Wal-Mart, where each child may spend a certain amount of money on new toys and clothes.
“The kids are from a variety of situations,” according to Lisa Dobbins, who organizes the shopping day. “Some are in need, and others may be sick or have an ill family member.” Each family invited, for one reason or another, is facing difficulties as Christmas approaches.
Physicians Who Care began holding its shopping days to ensure that as many children as possible have a magical Christmas season. The children who participate make lists of items they want, and a volunteer takes them around the store and helps them choose what to buy.
Most of this year’s shoppers made a beeline for the toy department, and many also browsed for new clothes, video games and sports equipment. Often, the young shoppers want to use their money to buy gifts for their siblings or parents. In addition to the new items they chose themselves, each child was given a wrapped gift from Physicians Who Care at checkout.
Physicians Who Care remains active in the community throughout the year. The organization also hosts a 5k race to benefit local cancer patients and their families, A-Day physicals for local students and a health fair.