Red Road Rescue

Red Road Rescue members sort through donations before delivering Christmas cheer to families in need.

THOMASVILLE — A little girl’s Christmas wish came true this year after she received her first toy doll from a local non-profit organization. 

Since 2019, Red Road Rescue has been supporting approximately 110 underserved pets around the community by providing essential resources such as pet food and veterinary needs. 

Last Christmas, however, was the first year the organization shifted their focus to also serve men, woman and children around Thomas County. 

The idea came after Mary Ellen Payne, Red Road rescue co-founder and vice president, decided it was important to also help pets’ owners.

“I just thought, if we could help pets and their people that would be a win-win situation, so we just started collecting things,” she said.

Last year, Red Road Rescue collected several donations that went to 25 families during the holiday season. 

This year the project grew as hundreds of donated toys, household items and clothes were collected throughout the year and distributed this Christmas to 40 families at a trailer park. 

Payne remembered seeing how happy the little girl was to get the new doll just in time for Christmas and noted that’s what drives her to keep giving back every year. 

“She got this doll, and she was just standing there clutching this doll. It was so sweet,” Payne recalled. “It’s kind of hit home for us that if we hadn’t done this some of those children wouldn’t have had anything from their grandparents or their parents. It fulfills a huge need.” 

With donations already coming in for next year’s Christmas distribution, Payne is looking forward to supporting even more families in the new year. 

“We certainly had enough goods that we could expand to another area in town,” she said. “Our goal is to help pets and their people, so that’s what we’re doing.” 

To donate or learn more information about the annual project, visit

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