Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
(L-r) Target associates Tonya Hamilton, Kevin Miller, Lequinta Dixson and executive manager Sabrina Evans with Clayton County State Court prosecutors Chaundra Lewis, Solicitor General Tasha Mosley and Denise Riley.
By Kathy Jefcoats
MORROW — Jeryl Clemons knows firsthand the importance of students being equipped with the tools of their trade — pencils, notebooks, papers and pens.
The 20-year veteran teacher at Jackson Elementary School in Jonesboro happened to drop by Target Thursday morning as Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosley and some of her staff swooped in to buy back to school supplies for needy children.
"I think this is wonderful," said Clemons. "It helps out a lot of families in these hard economic times. There are so many grandparents raising their grandchildren and I know this will help them."
The supply drive will benefit Kinship Care, a Clayton County organization that focuses on the needs of grandparents raising grandchildren. Mosley said the supplies will be bagged and handed out July 27 in front of the Clayton County Courthouse.
Leftovers will join other donated items at the annual Chik-fil-A giveaway Aug. 3 at Jonesboro First Baptist Church's The Rock, said Mosley.
Thursday afternoon, Mosley and her entourage hit the Lovejoy Walmart to round out the notebook paper, pencils and pens they bought at Target. They stocked up on rulers, cap erasers, folders and binders.
Mosley was surprised and delighted to learn that the store was willing to donate book bags and glue sticks. Assistant manager Gentris Brumfield said it is the company's way of giving back to the community.
"All kids need new book bags to carry their stuff," she said. "This keeps them from having to carry their supplies in their arms or in sacks. It's a big benefit for them to have book bags."
Mosley's annual back to school supply drive benefits the county on so many levels, she said. The money comes from probationers, not taxpayers, and the donations take the pressure off struggling parents and guardians. The money is then spent in Clayton County.
Target executive manager Sabrina Evans said the company appreciates the support.
"The biggest thing is it keeps Clayton County money in the neighborhood," said Evans. "I like the fact that we have a program that consistently gives back year to year and that reaches out to Target for support."
When students don't have the tools they need to perform daily tasks at school, it can have a negative effect on them, said Clemons.
"They feel embarrassed when they don't have what they need," she said. "When they have what they need, they start off the school right and hopefully, end up the year in a better place."
Not only that but teachers often pull from their own pockets to fill the gaps, said Clemons.
Mosley sees the charity as hopefully having a long-range impact on Clayton County students in other ways.
"We've got to keep these munchkins in school and out of the judicial system," she said. "That's our goal, to educate these kids and their parents. I don't want to see these kids in court. Without a good education, they won't make it in this world, not unless they are Steve Jobs from Apple or one of those guys who came up with Facebook. They've got to get an education."