DECATUR – In the spirit of “Giving Tuesday,” a group of local teens donated $10,000 to the Decatur Day Care and Weekend Food Backpacks program.
The group is called Gather Give Share and is made up of 36 teens from Macon County’s high schools. It was founded and run by students and works in association with the Community Foundation of Macon County. Mt. Zion Senior Benjamin Cleveland explains their purpose.
“We are a group that builds connections between schools,” says Cleveland. “Through philanthropy, which is a common thing we all share, we get to build bonds, meet new friends, and still give back to our community.”
Cleveland joined several of the other GGS members at Decatur Day Care to present the two checks on Tuesday. He says all of the money was raised through community donors, fundraisers, door-to-door, and anything the teens could do to raise some money. One $5,000 check is staying with the Day Care, and the other check is going to the Weekend Food Backpacks program. The backpack program provides food to Decatur students over the weekend that otherwise only eat the school-provided lunch during the week.
While young teenagers probably don’t have a direct connection to daycare kids or young students, Cleveland says they identified these programs as a community need.
“Budgetary constraints are hurting the Day Care, and we knew that this money would go a long way in helping them out,” he says. “As for the backpack program, we noticed that kids come in hungry to school on Monday, and I just think it’s ridiculous that kids in our community don’t get to eat on the weekends.”
Decatur Day Care Executive Director Janice Baldwin says she is very thankful for the donation.
“This is so wonderful; I mean, $10,000 is a lot of money for anyone to raise, let alone for teenagers,” says Baldwin. “I’m so proud because it shows that we have a promising next generation. Sometimes there is so much negativity in the world, but this shows that we have young people that know what giving back to the community means.”