School donations needed

LaGRANGE — For nearly a month, staff at the Troup County District Attorney’s office watched as monetary donations and piles of school supplies rolled in to help some students get off on the right foot for the new school year.

The fundraiser, part of the Coweta Judicial Circuit’s inaugural Backpacks 4 Kids event, will assist elementary school students with new backpacks and basic school supplies in five counties: Troup, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether and Carroll counties.

“It’s nice to see individuals step up and donate their hard-earned money,” said Troup County prosecutor Brett Adams. “Many people talk about when they had children, how hard it was to buy all those supplies. Now that their children are gone, they want to help another group of kids.”

“We’re getting donations as small as $5. … We’ve also gotten donations up to $40 and even $100,” stated Troup County Assistant District Attorney Drew Case. “It’s just whatever people can give, and it’s really been a pleasure to see that.”

Local businesses and organizations have also pitched in and contributed backpacks and school supplies to the cause. The Troup County Farm Bureau finance and insurance company donated all the pencils to fill the backpacks, said Adams.

The Coweta Judicial Circuit set a goal to gather 250 backpacks filled with supplies for children in each of the five counties; a total of 1,250 bags. A $20 donation provides a backpack full of basic school supplies to one child because the D.A.’s office can buy in bulk, said Adams.

While the D.A.’s office has received some donations, they are still very short of their goal. Currently, they only have 75 backpacks to hand out to students in Troup County — and the time to donate is running out. The fundraiser ends on Saturday, July 30.

“We don’t want children to have to forgo an education because the school or the family doesn’t have the supplies to give them,” said Case. “Or have teachers wonder, ‘Do I teach this classroom experience with the limited supplies I have? Or just forgo it? We don’t want there to ever be a choice between the two decisions.”

The Troup County Anchor Foundation and the Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy also know the importance of students having the right tools to learn in school. Both groups work with area youths to empower and educate them through mentoring programs, tutoring sessions and a variety of community events. They also teach children and teens about life experiences such as gang violence.

The organizations jumped on board to help the Troup County District Attorney’s office with the fundraiser and host a back-to-school party for children and families. The event will take place Aug. 7 on Lafayette Square from 4 to 6 p.m.

“The Backpack 4 Kids shows that there’s a D.A.’s office that cares,” said Ameia Cotton, founder of the Troup County Anchor Foundation. “They want to see our youth succeed and not just see them in a courtroom. The D.A.’s office wants these students to have the tools they need to succeed as far as education.

“It is very much needed … to show that there is support out there for our youth in our community,” she added.

Willie Mae Callaway, CEO of the Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy, agreed.

“This is the community coming together to show love for the students, show them that we care,” she said. “This event is allowing the families to come together for a fun event with food, drinks and vendors to see what … opportunities are available to them in the community.”

Special guests Kit Cummings and Quay Boddie will also be on hand to speak to the crowd.

The Troup County D.A.’s Office, Troup County Anchor Foundation and the Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy will also hand out some backpacks to children at the event. They hope there is enough supplies to go around.

Anyone wanting to make a monetary donation can drop it off at the Troup County District Attorney’s Office on the third floor of the Government Center at 100 Ridley Ave. or log onto www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/cjc-backpacks-4-kids. There is also a place to donate on their Facebook page: CJCBackpacks4kids. Certain levels of donations come with “thank you” rewards, said Adams.

Folks wanting to drop off backpacks and supplies can do so at the LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville police departments and the Troup County Sheriff’s Office.

For more information contact Brett Adams at badams@pacga.org, Drew Case at dcase@pacga.org, Willie Mae Callaway at Williemae_11@yahoo.com or Ameia Cotton at anchorfoundation@yahoo.com.

Here is a list of school supplies the D.A.’s and staff are collecting:

• Eight-packs of crayons.

• Assorted construction paper.

• 70 count spiral notebooks.

• Black and white composition notebooks.

• Wide ruled notebook paper.

• No. 2 non-mechanical pencils.

• Manual pencil sharpener.

• Colored folders.

• Ruler.

• Glue stick.

• Blunted scissors.

• Backpacks.

Groups seek push as supplies fall short

By Melanie Ruberti

mruberti@civitasmedia.com

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.