The family and friends of the late Dorothy Gudger helped to kick off Nana’s Kids Campaign this week in Oak Orchard. Dottie Gudger’s daughter, Carol Taylor, made the inaugural contribution from her family and friends – with a pile of toys that Santa would envy – and a check for over $7000. The annual Toy Drive has been renamed for Dottie, who would buy toys year round for the children – along with school supplies and other needed items. You can donate to the campaign by the donation receptacles at County Bank Long Neck, the Parade of Trees at Grotto Pizza Long Neck. You can also donate directly to the Boys & Girls Club of Oak Orchard/Riverdale, Indian River Volunteer Fire Company, County Bank or Community Church of Oak Orchard.
Presentation by Carol Taylor:
Hi and Good Evening,
My name is Carol Taylor, and my mother was Dottie Gudger. For as long as I can remember, my mother would purchase toys/clothes all year long in support of the needy kids drive. When the kids went back to school my mother would purchase school supplies and take them to Long Neck Elementary. It seems so fitting that so many organizations that my mom supported / lived near and cared about have come together to help honor her memory. My mother was always a child advocate. Her mother died in her early teens and my mother and her siblings were sent to live in an orphanage in DC. Later teens, she was sent to a foster home to live and help care for the family’s children. My mother NEVER used her childhood as an excuse instead she took her misfortune and became the best, most amazing person I have ever known. My mother was incredibly loyal, she was incredibly supportive, and she was a wonderful mom and Nana.
After my mother left us last year, my children and my nieces brought all my mom’s donations to County Bank for her. It was then that we dreamed of this day, officially changing the name of Nana’s Kids Campaign. When I approached Patrick Miller a couple months ago with the idea, I was so excited that he thought this was something we could bring in the local community to collaborate on. So I thank all the local organizations for coming together to support my family, and the kids of this community. My mother loved to support organizations in her local community, she felt like everyone could make a difference in someone’s life. Even if it’s not financially, even if it’s just smiling at the meanest person you know until you finally get them to smile back at you. To honor our mother, my sister and I reached out to our family and friends with a request for warm clothing/toys and monetary donations to kick off the Nana’s Kids Campaign in Gudger style. As you can see by the amount of amazing toys and warm clothes behind me, our friends absolutely out did themselves. I remain overwhelmed at the quality donations that we received from our fantastic friends. I truly believe my mom would be so honored her community has chosen to honor her as well as our friends and family so graciously standing besides us. Most of the local community did not have the opportunity to know my mother, and they only know her as a horrible story on the news or in the paper. But when you look behind me – THIS is my mother – THIS is why my mother was about… this is her legacy--- friendship, helping someone out and taking a stand.
Most will never understand how much this means to my sister and I or how much this honor would mean to my mother. But I hope the donations we bring to you tonight will help foster and help carry on the tradition she felt so strongly about. My sister and I would like to thank Patrick and the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company, County Bank, Long Neck Elementary School, Millie and the Boys & Girls Club of Oak Orchard-Riverdale, the Community Church of Oak Orchard, the members of the Nanticoke Indian Association and all the other corporate and community partner that are participating.
I asked Pam Shockley from County Bank, who shares my mom’s passion for the toy drive to come help me with the check presentation. While she also works at County Bank – she was so incredibly kind to both my parents and both my parents adored her. This was something that my mom shared with Pam; she would take pride in bringing all the toys and bikes, etc. into the branch year.
Therefore, I’s honored on behalf of myself and my sister, Teresa Gudger, as well as our family and friends to present the toys and clothes you see behind us – these donations are valued at $4,800 as well as check to Patrick for the Inaugural year of the Nana’s Kids Campaign – in the amount of $7,150 bringing a combined donation of checks, toys and clothing of approximately $11,950 to the Oak Orchard, Riverdale and Long Neck community in my mother’s name.