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Business, education groups collect for youth in need
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
December 20, 2012 03:12 PM | 1583 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Joe Livingston
From left, Paulding County School Superintendent Cliff Cole, United Healthcare’s Kimberly Blackmon, Paulding County Schools Facilities Specialist Kenelle Bresham and Paulding Chamber Of Commerce Member Services Director Kevin Kirby stand with food items collected.
Staff / Joe Livingston From left, Paulding County School Superintendent Cliff Cole, United Healthcare’s Kimberly Blackmon, Paulding County Schools Facilities Specialist Kenelle Bresham and Paulding Chamber Of Commerce Member Services Director Kevin Kirby stand with food items collected.
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With December here and so many residents in need, some Paulding County businesses and educational institutions are finding ways to give back to those less fortunate.

At Chattahoochee Technical College the school’s Skills USA group is hosting a toy drive on campus to benefit Toys for Tots until Dec. 18.

Skills USA, formerly called VICA, is an organization for high school and college students going into trade, technical and skilled service occupations. Toys for Tots is a national philanthropy project for the organization, said Kevin Ruby, instructor of automotive technology.

He said the goal is to fill up one box of toys to send to those in need.

“I know if we get a box full it will bring some smiles to some families’ faces,” Ruby said.

Also the Paulding County School District, United Healthcare and the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsoring a food drive to collect items for children in need over the holidays.

The groups have created the Backpack Program which raises funds and takes donations of healthy food to send home with elementary school students.

Kimberly Blackmon, United Healthcare school wellness coordinator said some children leave school on weekends and holidays and may not receive any food until they get back to school. The program sends food home with them so they can have some kind of meal.

“It ties together the community, the school district, the chamber and United Healthcare,” said Kenelle Gresham, Paulding County School District facilities specialist.

Snack food high in calories without nutritional value often is donated in similar efforts but is not healthy for the children, said Blackmon.

According to a U.S. Census Bureau estimate, 12 percent of Paulding County residents under age 18 lived in poverty in 2010.

“The biggest thing is to donate healthy food items,” Blackmon said.

The food drive will run through Dec. 17. Its purpose is to collect enough food to last students through the two-week winter break, she said.

The Chamber of Commerce at 455 Jimmy Campbell Pkwy. in Dallas is the dropoff location for donations.

The groups are asking residents to drop off such items as fruit cups, applesauce cups, easily prepared macaroni and cheese meals in individual pouches, instant oatmeal packets, individually wrapped fruit snacks, granola and breakfast bars, individual fruit juices and peanut butter.
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