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  • Carol A. White
    Kick-Aid, Inc.
    P.O. Box 48207
    Athens, GA 30604-8207

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  • The following article is from Vol. 14, No. 2 October 2016 of The Newsletter of The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at The University of Georgia. Click here to view full Newsletter.


    Under the leadership of Carol A. White, members of the Solo Seniors SIG have been sending supplies since 2012 to West Virginia’s impoverished Webster County, specifically to the town of Webster Springs. The town is exactly 500 miles from Athens, the last 40 miles a series of winding roads. There is only one high school in the county—in Cowen, seventeen miles west of Webster Springs, on the other side of a mountain range. Under normal conditions, some students ride for 90-110 minutes each morning and each evening, to and from school.

    The story of how Carol became involved with Webster County goes back forty years, when a missionary formed an alliance between a community group there and the congregation of Saint James United Methodist Church in Athens. Annually, church members, under the sponsorship of Circle 3 to which Carol’s mother belonged, collected clothing, knit winter caps for the children, and gave money to purchase gifts and toys for the families served by Christmas Store of Webster County. After the death of her mother (former UGA Professor Ruth White Ormston) in August 2005, Carol volunteered to drive the load to West Virginia. In ensuing years she expanded the program and now personally makes three trips annually to Webster Springs. She delivers school supplies and donated clothing in August, toys and other children’s items for the Christmas Store in late November, and large quantities of new books in early spring. Her activities came to the attention of the OLLI’s Solo Seniors in 2012, and that summer the SIG contributed bedding and dorm essentials to Webster County high school seniors who had won scholarships to college. In succeeding years they have helped Carol send books and clothing.

    Last June Carol was in Statesboro, finishing a residential summer camp at Georgia Southern, when sudden torrential storms dumped 8-10 inches of rain on the West Virginia mountains in a 6-8 hour period. Several hundred people in Webster County were displaced by the flood waters, their homes washed away or structurally unsafe for habitation. By the end of July conditions were still dire. Local residents were allowing displaced people to shower in their homes, and meals were still being served in the school cafeteria and at churches. Many Webster County residents had been without work/income for four weeks or laid off indefinitely because their job sites were ruined in the flood.

    In June after the flood, Carol’s inbox was at once full of email asking about the impact on Webster County. Back in Athens, she immediately began action to help. With donations from Solo Seniors, as well as the Quarterback Club and other groups, she and Vic Armstrong organized donations and purchases. In August they packed her Dodge Sprinter (the size of a FedEx truck) with tubs full of flood relief supplies, and Carol delivered them to West Virginia. Her load included:

    • A box of school supplies for each of the 12 classrooms in Webster Springs
    • Boxes containing 600 new hardback books and 550 recent paperback workbooks
    • Previously donated clothing sorted into rubber tubs
    • Current donations of sheets, towels, and other linens
    • Hygiene and storage items purchased with local donations
    Carol writes, “I have no family. My friends and a large number of businesses know that I evolved into this role because the lives of hundreds of people in one county in West Virginia continue to be impacted positively from our meager efforts.” Her efforts sound far from meager—she has clearly made a great difference in Webster Springs, both before the flood and after.

    If you want to help with the Webster Springs mission , donations of lightly used winter coats and jackets for children and adults are needed for the load to be delivered in November. All items provided for Christmas Store are brand new, but lightly used toys and children’s books are always welcome to be distributed as families experience losses. Contact Carol A. White at go43fg@gmail.com to arrange a delivery, make a financial contribution, or offer help with packing.

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