Give a Kid a Chance to donate backpacks, medical services
by Ellen Eldridge
July 12, 2014 12:07 AM | 4012 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Eliza Nunnally, 10, and others work to pack bookbags for the Give a Kid a Chance program at Heritage Baptist Fellowship on Wednesday. <br> Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Eliza Nunnally, 10, and others work to pack bookbags for the Give a Kid a Chance program at Heritage Baptist Fellowship on Wednesday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
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Ann Benzel packs a bookbag. <br> Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Ann Benzel packs a bookbag.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
slideshow
Mary Elizabeth Smith holds a bookbag as her 3-year-old granddaughter, Penelope, packs crayons at Heritage Baptist Fellowship on Wednesday. <br> Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Mary Elizabeth Smith holds a bookbag as her 3-year-old granddaughter, Penelope, packs crayons at Heritage Baptist Fellowship on Wednesday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
slideshow
CANTON — An annual event hosted by community leaders helps prepare children who need a boost for starting or returning to school.

Give a Kid a Chance expects to give away more than 3,000 filled backpacks to students in Cherokee County on July 19. The children and their families will attend one of two locations — Canton First Baptist Church or Woodstock’s Hillside United Methodist — and will also get free haircuts, clothing, medical screenings and lunch, co-founder and co-director Cheryl Ruffer said.

In addition to dozens of businesses and civic groups, more than 30 churches of all denominations work together for the children.

A new partner for the ninth year of Give a Kid a Chance–Cherokee is Bethesda Community Clinic, which has launched a campaign to put 1,000 gift cards in the hands of children this summer.

Karen Fegely, head nurse practitioner, founder and president of the clinic, said the partnering of the clinic with Give a Kid a Chance–Cherokee raises awareness and helps Cherokee’s children.

“Each gift card will provide a child in need with a checkup, sports physical, dental visit or sick visit and treatment,” Fegely said. “This is a bold effort to raise awareness of the care we offer at Bethesda, as well as give the under-served children of Cherokee county a much-needed service.”

Bethesda, founded in 2011, is a fully-equipped medical clinic specializing in primary care for all age groups in Canton at 107 Mountain Brook Drive, Suite 100, in the office suites just off Holly Springs Parkway.

Individuals, churches and businesses can support this effort to provide medical care to Cherokee County’s underserved by purchasing gift cards for the kids. Cards are $40 each and can be ordered online at www.bethesdacommunityclinic.org.

GAKAC organizers still need Spanish translators, hair stylists, optometrists, dental hygienists, audiologists, ENT physicians, physical therapists and others willing to donate their time and talents. Churches, civic organizations and other nonprofits help by offering time and donating filled backpacks.

It takes about 500 volunteers working from set-up Thursday and Friday nights to clean-up Saturday afternoon, Ruffer said. The leadership team stays busy throughout the year, spending many hours planning and establishing the support network needed for such a large one-day distribution.

“We feel we are making our community a better place,” Ruffer said. “People sometimes get frustrated with the bad things in the world and don’t think they can make a difference. If everyone did one thing to help, then we would change the world.”



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