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Your Views: Schools grateful for help providing students supplies
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The Hall County School System would like to thank the many organizations and individuals for the wonderful work that has been done so far this year to help support the families of our county's students who are experiencing increasingly hard times.

We know that our families typically spend between $30 to $100 per child to equip them for the first day of school, and the number of Hall County families who struggle to provide these basic school supplies for their children is mushrooming. We'd like to cite a few examples of the generosity and charity which has proven a true blessing to our families in need.

The United Way of Hall County's program, School Tools for Cool Kids, was a partnership with Publix Stores and the Hall County Library System, both of which served as dropoff points for our community's donations. Employees from both organizations contributed their time and resources. The United Way Cornerstone Companies and the Cargill Cares Foundation were major financial contributors.

This was a huge community effort involving donor businesses, volunteers, agencies and community partners. Significant contributions were made from individual citizens who donated materials to the program.

Staff from both Hall County and Gainesville City Schools sorted, packed, coordinated and distributed the school supplies. We want to especially recognize the school social workers from both school systems for their wonderful work.

The Atlanta Community Food Banks Kids In Need program donated supplies for teachers as well as students in our Title I schools. Eight Hall County schools and three Gainesville City schools, all of which have more than 80 percent of their students qualifying at or below the poverty rate were the recipients of our community's generosity through this program.

These supplies were donated by metro Atlanta businesses and the Atlanta Community Food Bank was able to reach out to other communities such as ours because of the generosity of their sponsors. Our local Georgia Mountain Food Bank allowed us to store the supplies until they could be picked up by our school systems couriers for distribution to individual schools.

We also want to thank the Retired Teachers Association, which collected school supplies at their September meeting. Additionally, we give many thanks to the numerous churches and civic organizations across Hall County which made supplies available for schools and for families through their own outreach programming.

Moreover, a supply of book bags filled with materials were sent to Hall County from the Lumpkin County Family Connection.

This outpouring of generosity was coordinated and facilitated by the school social workers who helped identify the needs, shopped for and coordinated contributed items, and got them to the families who were lacking clothes and school supplies. We are reminded daily just how much heart there is in this county and we give thanks.

Jim Sargent
Director, Student Services Department, Hall County School System

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