Dear editor,

The people who live in Catoosa County are caring and generous people who are always willing to help people in need, especially children. At times it is difficult to know how to help or if donations are even being used for the stated purposes. And there is always the question if the money stays in our community.

Several days ago I was in a chain drug store that has three locations in Catoosa County. Near the front door was a large box with bright labels asking for donations of school supplies. I was thrilled to see this box, knowing how many children in Catoosa county Schools could use notebooks, pencils, and paper. Then I read the find print; the supplies are going to Hamilton County Schools.

I commend the business for wanting to help children but I would feel even better if the help was for our students. This is why I frequently find myself encouraging people to closely examine those pleas for help. Know where the money goes. Does it stay in our community? How is it used? Does it help the children or pay the salaries of the fundraisers?

If you want to help those with genuine needs in our community I offer two suggestions. The Catoosa County Children’s Fund helps school children and their families with food, clothing, shelter and medical care. The Catoosa Sheriff’s Benevolence Fund/Stocking Full of Love provides similar help as well as toys for needy children at Christmas. One-hundred percent of the money for these two charities is used to help Catoosa children and one-hundred percent stays in Catoosa County.

And back to those school supplies: If you want to help Catoosa students, please drop off supplies at any school or church or call me. Thank you for your compassion and your generosity.

Sue Mason, MSW EdS., Catoosa County school social worker

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