COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. – Columbia County schools serve more than 26,000 students each year and is one of the top ranked public school systems in Georgia.
It goes along with the perception of the county as a whole.
“Most people perceive Columbia County as a very wealthy county with all the bells and whistles and parts but other parts of our county have challenges and those challenges are homeless children,” said Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Shepherd.
Those children are in the classroom every day.
“We have students sleeping couch to couch, home to home. We have families in hotels now,” said Columbia County School System Social Worker Brian Adams.
Many times, Adams says, students are forced to attend class without basic needs.
“Being on a fixed income, families have to prioritize what it is they can do and what they can’t do. So, if it comes to paying an electric bill or buying socks or underwear, parents are going to choose utilities,” said Adams.
One group is taking notice. The Leadership Columbia County class of 2017 has started the “Show you Care- Give a Pair” Underwear and Sock Drive.
Donations have already been pouring in.
Elizabeth Lamb is part of Leadership Columbia County.
“We heard from Dr. Sandra Carraway talk about the poverty in Columbia County and I think, as a class, we were both shocked and heartbroken by the kids from elementary to high school who are in need of just the basic necessities,” said Lamb.
Although the drive is still in it’s early stages, Lamb hopes that it’s a success that will last long after this class of Leadership Columbia County comes to an end.
“it’s the legacy that we can leave behind. Is this something that can turn into something bigger and better, encompassing more than just socks and underwear in the future,” said Lamb.
The Leadership Columbia County class is still working on several events to help raise donations for socks and underwear.