LaGRANGE — District attorneys and staff in the Coweta Judicial Circuit are moving to the head of the class to help children in five counties get a head start on the new school year.
Agency officials are hoping the community will join them in their inaugural Backpack 4 Kids event throughout July that will help elementary school students in Troup, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether and Carroll counties.
Assistant District Attorney Brett Adams said they plan on filling the donated backpacks with items such as crayons, notebooks and pencils. The goal is to gather 250 backpacks for children in each of the five counties; 1,250 bags total.
“There’s a lot of parents and students within the Coweta Judicial Circuit who cannot afford basic school supplies,” said Adams.
Last year, members with a group called Growth and Development went to a LaGrange neighborhood to hand out backpacks to children, Adams said. The group is associated with the Gangster Disciples criminal street gang.
“The act ‘legitimized’ them. It showed the gang is starting to recruit at even a younger age than middle school. It’s sick,” Adams said. “Then you have a parent that is having to choose between sending their kids to gang members for their school supplies because they can’t afford to buy any … and it’s so wrong.
“But the Backpacks 4 Kids is one of the ways we, at the District Attorney’s office, can say, ‘You can rely on us. We can meet that need.’”
Backpacks 4 Kids will not be just a donation drive for school supplies. Instead, the District Attorney’s office in each county want organizations to come up with innovative ways to raise money to buy the supplies or donate the supplies, Adams explained. Individuals can also donate money or supplies as well.
The D.A.’s office will use monetary donations to buy school items and backpacks from a wholesaler, Adams explained. A $20 donation provides a backpack full of basic school supplies to one child.
“Justice can be served inside and outside of the courtroom,” he continued. “This is just one of the ways we can do that.”
The Backpacks 4 Kids program runs July 1 to 30. The Troup County District Attorney’s office plans on distributing the backpacks to local elementary schools at the beginning of August, Adams said.
Anyone who wants more information or to help may contact Brett Adams at [email protected] or Drew Case at [email protected] You can also reach them at 706-298-3708 or go to their Facebook page:CJCBackpacks4kids.
Here is a list of school supplies the D.A.’s and staff are collecting:
• Eight-packs of crayons.
• Assorted construction paper.
• 70 count spiral notebooks.
• Black and white composition notebooks.
• Wide ruled notebook paper.
• No. 2 non-mechanical pencils.
• Manual pencil sharpener.
• Colored folders.
• Glue stick.
• Blunted scissors.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.