The people of Payson and the surrounding area are once again showing the size of the hearts in Rim country.
The community response to help Justin Richardson and his family in the fight against the boy's leukemia has been overwhelming, according to one of the coordinators of the effort, Gretchen Chatfield.
Richardson's fellow classmates at Julia Randall Elementary School, its staff, businesses and individuals have all contributed to a fund-raising campaign to buy a wireless, Internet compatible, laptop computer. The computer will allow the boy, a fifth-grade student, to keep up with class work, tests and stay in touch with friends via e-mail.
"The cost for this laptop is $2,400. We have collected $2,200 to date. Our goal is to collect $2,800 and be able to purchase some accessories and CD-roms for Justin," Chatfield said.
Contributions have come from Action Excavating, Armstrong Tree Removal, B&M Rental, Big O Tire, Bobcat Concrete, Empire Excavation, Exclusive Refinishing, Foxfire Homes, Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Co., Main Street Paint, Payson Concrete, Roy Haught Excavating, Technaframe Inc., and Tree Pro.
Other businesses supporting the cause, and providing space for contribution jars are Bashas', Beeline Business Equipment, Cucina Paradiso, Famous Sam's, Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Co., Manny's Batting Cages, Payson Therapeutic Massage and Day Spa, and Pioneer Title.
Direct contributions to the Richardsons can be made to Justin Richardson's account at SafeQ Credit Union, 512 S. Beeline Highway, account number 8808-700.
The blood drive held in Justin's name was Feb. 17, with 84 people participating and 61 units of blood collected. Food and refreshments were provided by Cucina Paradiso and Famous Sam's.
The Feb. 15 bake sale raised $439.
Another benefit for Richardson is planned March 2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Cucina Paradiso. There will be an Italian family-style brunch with platters of pasta, pizza, salad, soup, dessert, soda, iced tea and coffee. Adult admission is $12 and children can eat for $6.
All proceeds will benefit the Richardsons.
"We want to get as many people in there as possible," Chatfield said.
The efforts continue in April when another blood drive is planned on April 7.
"If you were able to donate at the Feb. 17 drive, you will not be able to donate on the April 7th drive," Chatfield said. She added those who would like to donate in Justin's name should contact her before the drive.
Call 468-1705 or 978-4163 for more information.