Fundraiser aids recovery residence - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fundraiser aids recovery residence

November 28, 2004

Albany- The "real" Santa spent the day in Albany taking orders for Christmas.

"It used to be it was a little pull toy and a doll, a bicycle maybe. But, now I have Gameboys, 64s, I don't know all the names," says Santa.

But he does know the name of his number one requested gift.

"It always is Barbie, always. Probably Gameboy would be next," admits Santa.

Santa was invited to be a guest at the Shackelford House by the Graceway Recovery Residence.

"Graceway is a non-profit, faith-based recovery residence for women suffering from alcohol and drug addiction," says Graceway development director, Liz Mazur Dixon. "This is our very first fundraiser. Until now we've relied on the generosity of different groups and individuals."

Dozens of children and their families got the chance to listen to storytelling and Christmas music, and go on a tour of both floors of Lynne Ranew Mertins huge pink mansion.

"It's a very good cause and because drug abuse touched my life in a very special way, it's made me know how it can change your life, and how much we all need to do something to help," says homeowner and caterer Lynne Ranew Mertins.

By opening the doors at her own house, Mertins is helping to give one to South Georgia women who may otherwise go without.

The Graceway Recovery Residence is the only one of its kind south of Atlanta and has been open just over a year.

Posted at 5:40 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com