Mailbox Brigade

This year, as the holidays approach, decorations are being put out on the street. But they aren’t getting thrown away, they’re getting thrown on mailboxes.

 Members of the Backyard Friends, a fundraising group for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, host several fundraisers every year to benefit the hospital.

“Mailbox Brigade” is the group’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Each year the Friends groups focus their funds on a single project, like revamping the emergency center. Last year, the volunteers raised over $20,000 to improve The Sibley Heart Center. This year, the money raised will go towards the Marcus Autism Center.

Friends group members divide into teams of two and gather Christmas tree clippings and other holiday greenery and secure a “swag” onto the mailboxes using wire. The mailbox is finished off with holly berries, pine cones, a bright red bow and a tag thanking the buyer for contributing to the hospital.

Annually, the teams get together and turn five-foot strands of ribbon into large bows. They even have blue ribbons available for those who celebrate Hanukkah.

According to Suzann Knap, the co-chair of the Decatur/Druid Hills Backyard Friends group, every day it takes $2 million to open the hospital doors, so the 35 Friends groups around Atlanta have their work cut out for them.

This year, the group is on track to raise over $7,000 by selling their mailbox decorating services for $40 a piece.

Knap said, many of the Friends volunteers help the hospital because of personal reasons.

Knap said, “My son, Andy, has asthma, and we’ve definitely used the emergency services, on multiple occasions. The hospital is literally there, in our backyard.”