On average, a child is reported missing every 43 seconds in the U.S.
Members of the Martinez Masonic Lodge are offering free child identification this weekend to help law enforcement agencies find and return missing children to their homes.
The Masons of Georgia, through the Martinez lodge and in collaboration with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, is holding the Georgia Child Identification Program on Saturday at Putt-Putt Golf and Games, 3763 Martinez Blvd.
"Our ultimate goal is to get all the children in Georgia (identified)," said Jeremy Wilson, the program's Masonic district director.
The identification packet includes a computer disc formatted for Amber Alert containing the child's personal data, digital fingerprints, photographs and an interview with the child.
A printout includes the child's personal data, an ID card and his or her fingerprints. The packet also contains a top and bottom dental impression, a DNA sample and a scent sample used for a scent-discriminating tracking dog.
The program has been recognized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as one of the most comprehensive child identification programs in the nation.
If the child goes missing, the packet will help law enforcement in the recovery and identification of the child.
A round of miniature golf will be given with every child packet, and each family will receive a coupon for a medium pizza from Hungry Howie's.
Wilson said he expects to compile packets on about 500 kids at the event.
"We want as many people as possible to come in and get this service," he said.
Wilson said volunteers from the Masons and the Fort Gordon NCO Academy will prepare packets on children of all ages and on seniors, who can often wander and get lost because of dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
"No one is too old or too young," Wilson said.
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