Bartow students collecting school supplies, hygiene products for Dougherty County tornado relief

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Bartow County students are reaching out to their peers in storm-ravished Dougherty County.

All 20 schools in the system are collecting school supplies and hygiene products for students affected by the Jan. 22 tornado that struck the south Georgia county, where at least four people died as a result of the afternoon storm.

Superintendent Dr. John Harper felt helping the students was “important for several reasons,” spokeswoman Cheree Dye said.

“First, helping others when we have the ability to do so is just a good practice,” she said. “Secondly, this is an unfortunate opportunity to teach our students lessons in the value of goodwill and kindness. Finally, many in our community have faced similar devastation due to storms, and we understand the pain and loss associated with this type of tragedy. If we can help alleviate even a small amount of the hardship they are enduring, it will be worthwhile.”

The Bartow County schools are accepting donations from students and the community in their front offices through Monday, and the central office will have the supplies delivered to the board of education office in Dougherty County.

“We will retrieve them on Tuesday and will probably ship them to the Dougherty County School System,” Dye said.

Though the supplies are being delivered to the school system, they will be distributed directly to the students who need them.

“The DoCo schools sustained very little damage, but the students’ homes suffered the brunt,” Dye said.

“The items are going to the school system, but they will be dispersed to the students. They won’t be kept for the schools.”