GMA began the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade in 1959 at the request of Betty Vandiver, wife of then-Governor Ernest Vandiver, as a way of providing holiday gifts for the patients of Georgia’s mental health and retardation hospitals.
Originally established to provide gifts to clients at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, the program was expanded in the 1980’s to support state regional hospitals.
The Mayors’ Motorcade is a great way for our city officials to share the joy and hope of Christmas with some of those who are in great need but are often forgotten. I hope that all cities will participate in this meaningful program.
Mayor Jim Thornton — LaGrange, Statewide Chair
Without the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, many of the clients would not receive a gift for the holidays. The Christmas spirit demonstrated by cities during the Motorcade extends beyond the holiday season. Any gifts not handed out during Christmas are used for client birthdays or given to newly arrived clients, who may need basic items. In this way, cities help the hospitals celebrate special occasions year-round and help the hospitals meet the needs of their clients.