More than a million children are reported missing each year. Grovetown Masons are hoping to make searching for them easier and faster through the Keep Kids Safe event Saturday.
The Grovetown Masonic Lodge is holding the Georgia Child Identification Program event from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Liberty Park on Newmantown Road.
"It affords families a great opportunity to receive some materials that we feel are the best out there," said Michael Frazier, a lodge member and event coordinator. "It is a lot better than just ID cards."
The identification packet includes a computer disk formatted for Amber Alert, containing the child's personal data, digital fingerprints, photographs and an interview with the child to capture their mannerisms on film, Frazier said.
A printout includes the child's data, fingerprints and an ID card. The packet also contains a dental impression, DNA sample and a scent sample for tracking dogs.
The Masons don't retain any of the child's information. The complete information packets are turned over to parents and guardians, Frazier said.
The program is recognized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as one of the most comprehensive child identification programs in the nation.
If a child goes missing, the packet will help law enforcement.
"What may take hours to initiate a search can now be initiated almost immediately. You've got that material right there," Frazier said.
"We're excited about this, and this is something that we're proud as Masons to bring to the community," he said.
Frazier said he hopes to identify at least 200 to 250 children during Saturday's event.
The event is free and open to parents or guardians of children of all ages, even up through college age.
The program also works well for adults with illnesses or disorders that make identification important and senior citizens with dementia or Alzheimer's.
"It is not just for small children. ... It is for anyone who can get there," Frazier said.
He said several community partners are participating or sponsoring the event, including Pediatric Dental Specialists, Georgia Bank and Trust, PCS Nitrogen, Augusta Asphalt, Sample & Associates, Peak Employment Solutions, Southern Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, Lawson's Learning and www.mycsra.com.
For information, contact Frazier at (706) 829-3297 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.