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Groups team up to supply students with bookbags
By Tia Lynn Lecorchick
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The annual Bookbag Pickup program is currently under way. Family Connection, KARE for Kids, Ric Rack, the Dawson County School System, Bethel United Methodist Church and The Father’s House have all teamed up to provide needy students with bookbags and school supplies.


The project aims to collect at least 100 bookbags, fill them with school supplies and then donate them to Dawson County school children who either are from  low-income families, in foster care or categorized as “homeless” by the Dawson County School System.


“It’s very important that children are as prepared as possible, especially on their first day of school,” said Jennifer Rager, a DFCS social worker and the homeless education liaison for the Dawson County School System.


“Its important that the kids and the families know that the whole community is behind them to succeed in school. The whole community is rallying around the youth,” added

Nancy Stites, the coordinator of Dawson County’s Family Connection.


This year’s Bookbag Pickup may distribute more bookbags filled with supplies than in previous years.


“We are anticipating to donate at least 100. But that is in no way a limit. It will probably be even more than 100,” said Rager.


Last year, nearly 75 bookbags were donated to needy school children.


Rager attributed the need for more bookbags and supplies to the fragile economy. The economic downturn is expected to increase the number of families applying for the program this year.


“People’s financial situation has gotten much tougher over the last year,” explained Rager. 


“We are going to do anything we can to take stress away from families and make school a positive experience,” said Stites. 


Despite increasing financial struggles, the Bookbag Pickup program will provide children with the tools needed to earn a good education.


“We want to give families every opportunity to succeed,” said Rager.


To donate bookbags and supplies, drop off items at collection bins displayed around Dawsonville. Collection bins have been put out in front of Ingles, Kroger and both Dollar General stores in Dawson County.


Local churches are also volunteering to donate bookbags and school supplies for the community project.


Families can apply to receive bookbags filled with school supplies by picking up applications at Ric Rack, a local thrift store located on the corner of Hwy. 9 and Perimeter Road, on July 19 and July 21. 


Bookbags will be distributed at The Father’s House, on Hwy. 53, on Aug. 8 from 7 -10 a.m. and from 3-6 p.m. and on Aug. 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


For more information on volunteering or applying to receive a bookbag with school supplies, contact Nancy Stites at (706) 265-1981 or Jennifer Rager at (706) 216-8595, Ext. 2167.