Local nonprofits donate 50 coats to children in need at Berta Weathersbee Elementary

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2021

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On Tuesday Area in Need Missionary House, in partnership with Valdosta State University, donated winter coats to 50 students at Berta Weathersbee Elementary School. Community Action for Improvement, a local nonprofit, partnered with this initiative. 

Stephanie Ford, CEO and President of Area in Need, explained the motivation behind her organization’s donation to the students.

“We have identified some children here at the school that were in need of coats. And today we are going to be blessing these children with coats,” Ford said.

Willie Cooks, the principal of Berta Weathersbee, said that he feels proud his school was able to receive the donation.

“I’m very proud they decided to donate these kid coats to our kids, pick the kid that will be blessed in the winter months,” Cooks said. “So, that’s a great privilege to have them come do this for our school.”

Cooks said students were selected based on decisions made by the counselors in the school.

“Our counselor reaches out to our families and she knows who is in need and what’s going on with their family. So she compiled a list of 50 students for us,” Cooks said. 

The event was sentimental for Keith Todd who helped put on the event because he went through Berta Weathersbee himself.

“To know that even during my childhood, I was able to spend time here at this school for several years,” Todd said. “I mean the atmosphere was great and to come back and see the same atmosphere. It’s awesome. I’m just loving it, it does my heart well.” 

Marcia Matthews, a member of Community Action for Improvement, said she has been impressed by the work Area in Need has done so far in the LaGrange community.

“I was so elated when Tara [Neal] called me over a year ago and asked if I would come to a meeting, and I went to the meeting and I was really impressed with where their heart was and meeting the needs in the community here in LaGrange,” Matthews said.

Ford announced at the event that the organization will also be providing the children with toys for Christmas this year.

“[During] Christmas, we’re going to be given out toys to the kids as well. We are going to identify those students that need us the most and we’re going to actually provide toys for those kids too,” Ford said.

Ford highlighted during her speech the need for community involvement with the organization and encouraged people to get involved.

“We’re going to be needing to call on the entire community to rally behind us with this,” Ford said. “This is not a small task. This is a God-sized task, and I know all things are possible with him, but he needs his people to help make it go.”

If members of the community want to get involved with Area in Need or Community Action Improvement, both are accessible via their websites.