HOMER – What started as an online criticism of the Banks County School System Monday afternoon quickly became a rallying cry for members of the community to mobilize and address a perceived heat-related issue.
The mother of students in the school system posted in a social media discussion forum that for the health of her children she would be forced to pick them up from school during the current heat wave to avoid them enduring an hour on a non-air conditioned school bus. That discussion thread quickly exploded to more than 200 comments.
Within hours Monday night, a Banks County company and one of the ministries of a Homer church mobilized to provide bottled water for all Banks County students who ride school buses.
Two trucks loaded with bottled water arrived at the bus shop adjacent to Banks County Elementary School at 9:30 a.m. today and were presented to Banks County School System Transportation Director Mike Cleveland.
On behalf of the Homer Baptist Church Women’s Ministry, Ansley Crabbe presented a truckload of water. Crabbe, a teacher at Banks County Elementary School, said addressing a community need is a natural fit for a church.
“Being a church, we wanted to start reaching out to the community more and knowing that it’s going to be so hot these next few days we thought water would be the best thing for the kids on the buses especially,” Crabbe said.
Similarly, Scott Ledford of Metro Site donated two pallets of water to the school system for use by students on afternoon school bus routes.
Ledford said Metro Site has a track record of providing its bottled water to benefit the school system.
“We donate water for the athletic events,” Ledford said. “In the past, we were buying signs and it wasn’t really helping them out. It was a couple hundred bucks for the sign and they didn’t really get a lot of benefit, so we came up with this idea to be able to donate a pallet of water in lieu of a sign, and then they’re able to sell that water, make $1 a bottle off it, to go toward athletic programs.”
Ledford said Metro Site was glad to step up and help provide water for afternoon bus riders, and is hopeful other community groups, companies and individuals will step up to supplement today’s donations.
“When we got a call from Coach Cleveland that there was a need here for some very hot school buses, we decided to step up and donate the first two pallets and hopefully we’ll get the rest of the community to join in and help until the heat wave goes away,” Ledford said.
Later in the day, Fieldale Farms and Tim's Pharmacy in Cornelia stepped up and donated a pallet each of water to be used for students riding school buses on Wednesday.