Stars of the South Bring Hope to Savannah

Stars of the South

There are several local volunteers who give their time to serve those fighting poverty, homelessness and hunger through the holidays. And while they may be donating their time, they believe they are receiving so much more.

West Broad Street YMCA Peter Doliber, Executive Director and CEO, and Emma Givens, Retired and volunteer of 15+ years, work together at the Broad Street YMCA to help children and adults in the community who could use a little help providing the best Christmas possible. Last year, Doliber helped serve 550 children at the annual Miracle on May Street event and is always in awe of the generosity they receive. Givens decided to become a foster grandparent after a friend of hers told her about the opportunity. She now has 13 grandchildren – 3 here and 10 in New Jersey. One of her foster grandchildren has now grown to work at the Economic Opportunity Authority where Givens signed up to become a foster grandparent.

Union Mission Dr. Frances Carter, President and CEO, and Michael Walton, Leasing specialist at Sustainable Fellwood and volunteer of 4 years, help the Union Mission provide people with food and, most importantly, hope. During the holidays, the Angel Tree program helps provide toys to families and also “huge” meals for both Thanksgiving and Christmas along with some food items to take with them. Walton is open about his own time as a resident at Union Mission from 2008 to 2009. He has grown from being a resident and student of their Making Action Plans Successful class to coming back and teaching the class. He believes that his students' and the others he has helped's success is a measure of his own personal success.

The Salvation Army Captain Marion Platt, III, Corps Office and Administrator, and Debbie Hirsch, Licensed massage therapist, Tae Kwon Do instructor and volunteer of 4 years, both serve the Salvation Army and the Savannah community in their own unique ways. Capt. Platt began his career with the Salvation Army at age 11, and saw just how many people there were who needed help. He hasn’t let up helping them ever since. He truly believes in the mission of serving families and preaching the gospel to everyone without discrimination that the Salvation Army practices. Hirsch has been practicing Tae Kwon Do since 1994. Since the Salvation Army is teaming up with the Savannah Tae Kwon Do academy this year, the kids involved in the program will be able to take classes and work towards a rank. She believes that the basic tenets of Tae Kwon Do and the self-confidence the children learn are invaluable.