Friends’ donations keep climbing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Through the years many people have benefited heavily from the Friends of Hale County. In 2004 the group had one of its most successful terms ever.

Throughout the year the group was able to start and complete 92 projects with the first 71 being completed by Aug. 1. Their generosity did not slack off near the end of the year. Only days before Christmas the group was still hard at work. On Dec. 23 Friends member Betsy Colvin organized a Christmas Eve Eve party to give gifts to some 45 Greensboro residents. They also donated $200 toward the power bill of a part time teacher in Linden so she could see her Christmas lights.

The giving spirit of the group had many benefactors. Among the biggest were schools. Friends member Law Lamar said the group did its best to modernize the schools and make them more pleasant for the students.

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“We donated $200 to updating the maps in classrooms,” Lamar said. “Some of the ones that I saw when I was there were so old they did not have interstates located on the map.”

Another huge donation was made to a Linden school to help the children enjoy their break time.

“We donated $10,000, largely through two people whose parents grew up and lived in that area, to Linden Elementary School for playground equipment,” Lamar said. “The current equipment has been unusable for about 20 years.”

Among other donations to schools was Xerox copier paper, desks, chairs and dry erase boards by Alabama Power, which went to schools in five Black Belt Counties. A garage sale was also held which produced $1,800 for Warrior Academy.

Many other donations were made for the general well being of people in the community.

One group worked to patch a hole in the roof of a local family’s house and gave support to the bathroom floor and fixed the toilet. Two mobile homes were also donated and appliances were given to needy families including a gas stove.

A couple, who had been separated because of medical conditions, was also brought back together through the efforts of the group.

“A married couple was literally reunited when our group came together and built a ramp for their mobile home,” Lamar said. “This enabled a man, who had lost his foot, to be able to push his wife’s chair up the ramp and into the house. They had lived apart for some time because of their inability to enter their home.”

The group also brought unity to the community as a Community Thanksgiving Service at Rising Star Baptist Church brought Christians together of all races and backgrounds.

For their efforts the group has been nominated to receive an award from the Southern Growth Innovator Foundation. The award is given to an organization performing innovative service to people living in the rural South, which includes 13 states. The characteristics of a winning organization include being innovative, monetarily efficient and using volunteers both from the region and the nearby urban areas and working with the poor in ways that produce long lasting results.

The group plans to keep their momentum rolling into 2005 and said they still have many needs.

“Currently, we have special needs of pianos, church organs, Bibles, musical instruments, money for washing machines, gas stoves, refrigerators and mobile homes,” Lamar said. “We also need a Birmingham Sunday School class to “adopt” two churches in Hale County. Adoption requires prayer for the members and joint services every three months.”