Author Ruth J. Gendler once said, “Fear may have a large shadow, but he himself is small.”
Extra Special People Director Laura Whitaker shared the quote when speaking about the strength and benevolence of community.
As of Tuesday, a Facebook group called “One Oconee [Networking & Assistance]” has garnered 2,232 followers, many of whom have offered to help their fellow neighbor.
“The emotional impact of isolation these next few weeks could far out way the physical. When in doubt, reach out,” said Whitaker. “We are determined to be a voice of calm, strength, and hope in this time of fear. Now is the time that we ask you to put kindness and caution into practice.”
Watkinsville First United Methodist Church is pairing up families to check on each other once a day via phone calls or text messages.
The Oconee County Sheriff's Office is offering grocery and pharmacy deliveries to seniors and those shut in or self quarantined. Those interested in this service should contact Sgt. Marla Brown or Cpl. Kandy Marchman at (706) 769-5665 during business hours.
Food for Kids
The Oconee Area Resource Council, which provides meals to families through its Food for Kids program, is accepting monetary donations.
Students who qualify for free/reduced lunch are able to pick up food at Oconee County Middle School on Thursday and Friday. Families who are enrolled in OARC’s Summer Food for Kids program qualify to receive an additional box of food each week. For questions or to donate, contact OARCat (706) 769-4974 or email Amanda@oconeeconnection.org.
OCS is providing cafeteria managers, counselors, and social workers to help facilitate this effort.
Mobile food pantries are available Friday at Watkinsville First Baptist Church and March 27 at Antioch Baptist Church.
Area Churches Together Serving, a food and clothing pantry in Bogart, is operating on its regular schedule Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until further notice. ACTS is located at 130 E. Thompson.
“If our volunteers are staying home to isolate themselves, we understand and ask you to notify us by email, call or text message so we can adjust the way we serve our clients,” ACTS Co-chairmen Randy Dawson and Dennis Clarke said in a press statement. To donate clothing, money or food items, call Dawson at (706) 540-3695 or email email@example.com.
The Athens Area Diaper Bank is accepting monetary donations. The nonprofit will purchase diapers from a supplier and deliver them directly. For more information, visit athensareadiaperbank.com.
Lydia’s Place, a nonprofit assisting young adults ages 14-26 who experience foster care or homelessness, is seeking individuals who have a room or rental space to sue for temporary housing.
“If you are able to contribute financially to assist, we will use your donations for short-term housing and food,” said Lydia’s Place manager April Whirley Farlow. For more information, visit lydias-place.com.
The Ark, which provides emergency financial assistance when individuals and families have had an unexpected loss of income, also welcomes assistance. It can be reached at athensark.org.
The Cancer Foundation assists households with an adult cancer patient with basic life expenses by paying for things like rent, mortgage, utilities, medication and health insurance. Visit cancerfoundationofnega.org for more information.
Right now, Relay for Life Oconee-Clarke is still slated for Friday, May 1 at Oconee County Middle School. Relay organizers are asking for online donations or for people to purchase a luminary in honor, or memory of someone who has been impacted by cancer. People can also make a donation by Googling Relay for Life Oconee-Clarke and clicking on the “make a donation” button.
Through the “One Oconee [Networking & Assistance]” Facebook page, which was created by Jennifer Lyons Hadden, many citizens are offering their services free of charge.
For example, a speech therapist with experience with special needs children is offering childcare. A first grade teacher says she will help out with digital-learning assignments. People have also been posting which churches are having online services.
The Oconee Enterprise would like to highlight those who are going above and beyond with their generosity.
Email Editor Michael Prochaska with tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“What stands out to me is the selflessness I have witnessed with the citizens of Oconee County,” said Deanna Bradshaw Smithof the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “I’ve had so many people reach out to me to offer their help with providing for those in the county that can’t provide for themselves. … Oconee County has the very best citizens, and I work with some of the most amazing people.”
For more on this story, see the March 19 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website.