Augusta-area foundation provides discrete assistance to those in need
It's hard to feel safe and secure when you're worried about being ridiculed for something out of your control. But this is a common fear for children and teenagers without access to basic hygiene products.
"Do I have bad breath? Body odor? Who's going to be a jerk about it?"
Thanks to the Columbia County Foundation for Children and its innovative Pantry Project, this is one thing underprivileged students in Columbia County Schools don't have to sweat over. The foundation is an all-volunteer charity that works to help kids through a variety of efforts, including the Pantry Project.
"We've had the thrift store, where kids can come get clothes, but we realized a couple of years back that kids have other needs," says Adam Williams, president of the charity. "Sure, now they have jeans, but many still need basic hygiene products like a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant."
That realization led the foundation to create the simple, but important, Panty Project.
"The kids can go to the office and ask the guidance counselor or the school nurse, and they can get what they need … no questions asked," says Adam.
The discrete Pantry Project fulfills a basic need, but Adam knows the pantry does more than just that.
"The biggest thing is it gives them confidence," he says. "Whatever situation they are in, they can get help, and their peers don't need to know about it."
The Columbia County Foundation for Children was started almost 30 years ago by a local woman who had a passion for helping children. In addition to the Pantry Project and the thrift store, the foundation also manages a holiday gift-giving program and a needs-based scholarship fund that awards $45,000 each year to upwards of 20 recipients.
It is the scholarship application interviews that affect Adam the most.
"We get to hear the kids' stories and understand the impact we're making in their lives," he says. "They're smart. They just need help. Some of the stories are incredible. Some have been homeless. Some are the children of junkies."
Adam grew up in the area. As a kid, he says, "it didn't dawn on me there was a need here." He learned about the charity in a Chamber of Commerce leadership class. "The project resonated with me. I realized, I can make a difference here."
After six years of volunteering, he has learned it doesn't take much. He now knows a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste have the power to change a life.
About Circle & Shield
Cingo means to surround and secure — to protect. That's what we do. And we have a lot of respect for those who take it upon themselves to make protection a part of what they do, too. That's why we've launched Circle & Shield, our award to a member of the community who helps make the world a better place, a safer place.
Click here to nominate someone for Cingo's Circle & Shield. We'll do the rest.
Cingo provides home protection services throughout Georgia and South Carolina, including Atlanta, Augusta, Charleston, Douglas, Dublin, Milledgeville, Savannah, Vidalia, Waycross and all points in between. Cingo was named a Best Place to Work in Georgia by Georgia Trend Magazine and listed as a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Learn more at www.cingohome.com.