VALDOSTA — Building Bridges Saddle Club wants to make Christmas Eve a more special day for children.
Beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24, members of the nonprofit organization will ride on horses through underprivileged neighborhoods to deliver gifts to children for the organization's second annual gift giving.
A carriage will be filled with presents, carolers will serenade and Mrs. Claus will tag along with Santa Claus in front of the horse and wagon.
Myron Thomas, Building Bridges founder, said he believes the nonprofit will be a blessing to many people and said he started the yearly event because it touched his heart that some children went without Christmas presents.
“I’m a little more fortunate; our homes were full of gifts,” he said. “I just didn’t want to take it for granted when I go into the community, and their fathers are not even in the home.”
He said that by touching at least one family, he’s done more than someone who hasn’t touched anyone’s life.
“We just want to put a smile on someone’s face; that’s our agenda,” Thomas said.
Building Bridges was founded September 2016, and its purpose is bridging the societal gap that’s been placed on people, according to organizers.
Administrator Verricka Lamb said though the club is focused on youth, members desire to bring people together regardless of gender or skin complexion.
“We want to make sure that nobody is divided by the color of their skin ... because a lot of people discriminate based on how you look ... and we try not to discriminate,” she said.
According to Lamb, the nonprofit stands against violence and helps not only youth, but also the elderly, to come together by providing training on horsemanship and equestrian skills.
“It’s drawing them together,” she said. “We’re being one mind for one purpose. They’re not alone. It’s somebody that really cares, and we’re not being selfish.”
Thomas said Building Bridges wants to be a positive influence on the community, and the nonprofit wants to steer youth in a good, positive direction.
Lamb said the group wants to bring a “sense of hope” for as many people as possible.
“We try to promote love and understanding of horses and horsemanship, and we try to be an extension of God’s people,” she said.
Building Bridges is still accepting donations for the Christmas Eve gift giving. Contact Lamb at (850) 933-8257 to learn how to donate.
The organization can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Periscope.
Amanda Usher is a reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times. She can be contacted at 229-244-3400 ext.1274.