DECATUR, GA—This year, DeKalb County District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson’s Tree of Love provided Christmas gifts to more than 1,000 children. The event, which celebrated its 25th anniversary, was held at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center in South DeKalb.
Several community partners and residents “adopted” the children by providing them with gifts based on their wish lists, which were placed on the Tree of Love. The wrapped gifts were distributed during the closing ceremony on Dec. 16, just ahead of Christmas, organizers say.
A host of District 3 volunteers, residents, and community partners operated in love, peace and joy to make this milestone year outstanding, Commissioner Johnson said.
“I am excited and blessed to be sharing that this is the 25th Annual Tree of Love,” said Commissioner Johnson. “In addition to helping relieve some of the financial strain associated with the holiday season, we are also promoting a sense of community by coming together to support those in need.”
Each year, Commissioner Johnson highlights community service by presenting prestigious awards to groups and individuals who have made a significant difference in impacting their communities. The following awards were presented during the 2023 Tree of Love celebration:
The 2023 Ernest Prather Community Award was given to the County Line-Ellenwood community in recognition of its efforts to promote community pride and civic responsibility. Alice White Bussey received the award on behalf of the community.
The 2023 Lou Walker Citizenship Award was presented to Allison Clark in recognition of outstanding community service and contributions made to positively impact the quality of life of residents living in DeKalb County, Commission District 3.
The inaugural District 3 Champion-Results You Can See Award was presented to Betty Barnes. This award award was given in recognition of individuals who voluntarily dedicate their time and energy to assist the District 3 team and community.
Additionally, Commissioner Johnson honored an outstanding mother in honor of his late mother, Diana Johnson. This year, the awardee was Salem Meretse, who was saluted for her commitment to service and motherhood.
In the wake of COVID, organizers maintained the modifications for a drive-through to distribute the gifts to families. After receiving their gifts, participants were given a surprise bag of dry goods, fresh produce, a hen and snacks compliments of the Center Helping Obesity in Children End Successfully (C.H.O.I.C.E.S.). Over 40,500 pounds of food was distributed.
Families also received free hot meals, compliments of LA Pink Community Boutique and Street Groomers, as they waited for their gifts to be brought out to their vehicles.
Tree of Love