THOMASVILLE — COVID-19 takes a toll everywhere the nasty novel virus lands.

It is even infiltrating this year's Law Enforcement Goodwill Project to raise money to ensure a good Christmas for needy children.

Some underprivileged children have lost parents to COVID-19, and some have hospitalized parents, said Capt. Tim Watkins, Thomas County Sheriff's Office chief investigator. Also to be considered is that some needy children's parents have lost jobs for virus-related reasons, he said.

This year's event is Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Jail-Justice Center, 921 Smith Ave.

Tickets are $7 and available at the sheriff's office, Thomasville Police Department or Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division at the Jail-Justice Center. Boston Police Department also is participating in the event this year.

The menu consists of barbecued chicken, green beans, corn on the cob and cake. Meals are takeout.

"We've been doing it for approximately 20-plus years," Watkins said.

The event raises between $8,000 and $9,000 annually. A reserve is maintained to help families who are fire victims.

School officials know which children are in need, said TPD Lt. Toby Knifer, adding that names also are submitted by the Thomas County Department of Family and Children Services.

"They submit names to us, and we go through a process," Knifer said.

Watkins said the names of children in one family might be submitted by more than one school. Steps are taken to ensure there is no duplication.

Traditionally, the event is a sell-out

"Tickets are selling out quickly," Knifer said.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820 

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