Marketplace Not Holding In-Person Event But Focused on Raising Funds for Safe Kids

Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Pictured above (L to R) are Marketplace Tri-Chairs: Ashley Sliger, Natalie Challen, Brittni Curtis

After careful consideration in conjunction with healthcare leaders, the Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) Auxiliary, led through the end of September 2020 by Auxiliary President Ellen Toms, has made the decision not to hold an in-person Marketplace event this year amidst the ongoing pandemic. In an effort to honor the spirit of Marketplace, the Auxiliary has decided to continue to focus our efforts on increasing awareness of the tremendous impact the Safe Kids Northeast Georgia program has on children and teenagers within our community.

“Each year, we look forward to seeing our community come together during this holiday shopping tradition and inviting local and out-of-state merchants to participate,” said Lynne Allen, director of Volunteer Services and the NGHS Auxiliary. “While disappointing that it will not be prudent to hold an in-person event, I thank our 2020-2021 Marketplace Chairs, Natalie Challen, Brittni Curtis, and Ashley Sliger, and Ellen Toms, Auxiliary President, Lee Highsmith, upcoming Auxiliary President, and Jennifer Bagwell, Auxiliary Finance Chair for the valuable time and consideration each have devoted to the decision as an alternative plan was explored, along with their foresight and commitment to focus on planning for the in-person celebration of the 30th anniversary of Marketplace in 2021.”

The NGHS Auxiliary and NGHS Foundation convey sincere gratitude to Willis Investment Counsel for continuing to partner as the Premier Sponsor of Marketplace for the 12th consecutive year. The continued philanthropic generosity of the firm in support of healthcare is applaudable, particularly at a time when the Safe Kids Program may be more important than ever to children and teenagers within Northeast Georgia.  

As a fundraiser, Marketplace 2020 was slated to support Safe Kids Northeast Georgia and the need to keep children and teenagers safe remains great within the pandemic. With more children at home for extended periods of time, often unsupervised, comes increased risk of injury. Truly, Safe Kids is just as important now as it was before the pandemic, maybe even more vital. Accidental childhood injury is the leading killer of children age 19 and under in the U.S. Safe Kids works to reduce these risks by driving awareness and distributing safety equipment. In addition, a recent focus has been placed on suicide prevention due to the increasing number of teen suicides within our community. While local educators have praised Safe Kids efforts in this area, as mental health issues continue to plague our youth, there is much more we can do.

For more information about the impact of Safe Kids and how you can donate, please visit or contact the Auxiliary at 770-219-1830.

About Safe Kids Northeast Georgia

Created in 1992, Safe Kids Northeast Georgia is one of 30 coalitions in Georgia dedicated to the prevention of accidental injuries, a leading killer of children 14 and younger. Through a local coalition made up of 130 members representing more than 30 community agencies, Safe Kids provides safety equipment and education in injury areas such as child passenger safety, water safety, fire safety, wheeled sports safety and more, reaching more than 50,000 children, family members, teachers and caregivers annually. For more information, please call 770-219-8095 or follow us on Facebook.