Droves of area residents turned out to donate school supplies at Columbia County Walmarts and at a back-to-school festival in Grovetown on Saturday.
Aside from such special events, though, finding ways to lend a helping hand in Columbia County, outside of schools, can be difficult.
"In Columbia County, volunteering and donating opportunities are kind of limited, compared to Augusta," said Columbia County Foundation for Children board vice president Michel Young.
Still, the need exists, and Young hopes more residents step up to fill it.
"We're always in need of school-aged children's clothes, especially boys clothes," she said of the Appling-based thrift store the foundation operates to support itself. "Always in need of underwear for school-aged kids, elementary through high school, male and female."
Once winter arrives, Young said, the store will need coats and sturdy shoes.
Currently, bookbags are in demand, she said.
"We don't really have that high of a demand for school supplies, but they don't hurt to have," Young said.
The foundation is a nonprofit group that provides clothes to needy families, and offers summer school and need-based college scholarships.
The thrift store, located at 6347 Columbia Road, is open 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. the first Saturday of each month.
Volunteers always are welcome, Young said.
Donation and volunteer opportunities at Columbia County Community Connections also are available.
The Harlem-based group regularly provides food to needy students through its Saturday Sacks program.
"We provide 250 sacks of food to children in Columbia County on weekends throughout the school year," Community Connections Executive Director Julie Miller said in an e-mail.
"There are many ways to get involved in this program," Miller said. "You can donate money to purchase food from Golden Harvest for the sacks. Or you can conduct a food drive and put together sacks for the students. You could start a program at your child's school.''
Community Connections also is in need of donations to help fund the Ryan Clark Scholarship and Community Service Award, and for volunteers to work in after-school programs in Harlem and Grovetown. The nonprofit group also is looking for board members to help develop a five-year strategic plan to help the community, and for someone to update its Web site.
Those wishing to donate or volunteer can call (706) 556-0609 for information.
Volunteer opportunities within the school system vary from school to school, deputy superintendent Sandra Carraway said in an e-mail.
"Some of the most common volunteer opportunities include working in the front office and the school's media center," she said.
Many schools also are in need of tutors, Carraway said.
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