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Back 2 School campaign benefits area non-profits

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

The 14th Annual Back 2 School Campaign for Homeless Children is underway, and could benefit several local charitable organizations.

The non-profit Children's Restoration Network (CRN) recently announced that it is working with the Bank of America and Kroger in an effort to collect nearly 4,000 new book bags and school supplies to support the more than 3,900 children in metro-area shelters and group homes for the upcoming school year.

"The Children's Restoration Network firmly believes that receiving a good education is the key to breaking the cycle of homelessness for the children we serve," said Cliff Kinsey, CRN co-founder and CEO. "A good education can lead to a stable job, which in turn paves the way for a future career and self-sufficiency. By linking these children with the basic necessities, they will have a fighting chance at a brighter and better future."

About 130 metro-Atlanta Bank of America locations and various Kroger grocery stores will serve as public drop-off sites for the campaign. The public is encouraged to drop off new book bags and school supplies at metro-Atlanta Bank of America and Kroger grocery store locations now through Aug. 4.

Noah's Ark Children's Care Home in Locust Grove is one local non-profit that stands to benefit from the campaign. The non-profit collaborates with CRN throughout the year, on occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, in efforts to support foster children at the home.

"We're one of the non-profits that has needs for our children, and they are one of the organizations that help us with those needs," said Diane Smith, assistant to the director at Noah's Ark.

Smith said that foster children at Noah's Ark often arrive at the home with little more than a trash bag of personal items. Efforts like the Back 2 School Campaign, however, aid the non-profit in its mission to rehabilitate and care for children. "I think it means a lot to the children when they realize that someone cares about them and is willing to help get them what they need."

The Children's Restoration Network will host its Back 2 School Readiness Day on Aug. 10 at Atlanta Union Mission's My Sister's House, where more than 1,900 children will receive free health immunizations, dental and vision screenings, haircuts and the book bags filled with school supplies.

Kinsey said the network needs volunteers to help sort and fill the book bags on Aug. 8-9, in preparation for the Back 2 School Readiness Day. "This is our biggest population ever that we're working with. I'm very optimistic that we're going to reach our goal," he said.

"The vision of Children's Restoration Network is to continually seek to enhance its ability to offer significant resources to homeless children and mothers and make a demonstrative difference in their lives by creating strong partnerships and attaining financial stability."

For more information about volunteering for CRN, call (770) 649-7117.