FerstJudge

Bob “Papa Bear” Mackey before Judge Jeff Downing

Pickens Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy benefits from Jail ‘n Bail event

By Rita Van Fleet

The Pickens Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy recently held its annual Jail ‘n Bail event. A dozen detainees—prominent citizens all—were arrested, taken to the Old Jail and brought before Judge Jeff Downing who set their bail, which was donated to the Pickens Ferst Foundation.

Pickens Ferst Executive Director Sue Appleton reports record donations approaching $20,000 will fund six months of the Pickens Ferst program.

"The support of our entire Pickens County community is greatly appreciated,” Appleton said. “A special thank you to the Big Canoe community for its support of Bob Mackey and our childhood literacy program. With their help, Bob raised over $6,000 for his bail which equates to approximately 3,000 books."

Big Canoe resident Mackey, who was convicted of “incredibly terrible golf,” led the fund-raising with a record-smashing final total of $6,623.

“It’s all about Big Canoe,” said Mackey. “I’m so grateful for the generosity of my friends and neighbors. Over 95 percent of what I raised was from donations from Big Canoe—pretty awesome. Thank you.”

Pickens FERST prepares preschool children for reading and learning success in school by encouraging children to learn through early reading experiences and promoting parent/family involvement in early learning. Each month participating children under the age of five receive in the mail an age-appropriate book with a child’s activity sheet, a parent’s reading guide and newsletter at no cost to the parent.

The Pickens FERST Foundation for Childhood Literacy was introduced to Pickens County in 2009 by Downing when he served as president of the Rotary Club. Since the program’s inception, Pickens FERST has mailed over 100,000 books to program participants. Over 70 percent of all Pickens County children under the age of five participate in the free program. The actual cost is $3 per month per child. Approximately 1,000 children receive books each month. All children under the age of five in the county are eligible for the program. There are no income qualifications.The organization is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 non-profit public foundation. It is listed as a four star charity on www.charitynavigator.org.

The Jail ‘n Bail event raised funds to support the FERST program for over six months, but additional donations are needed. Tax deductible donations can be mailed to Pickens Ferst Foundation, P.O. Box 2062, Jasper, GA 30143 or made online at www.ferstfoundation.org. (Click on “DONATE NOW” button. On the donation page, select Community Pickens)

FerstGroup

2018 detainees: (back row l to r) Tony Young, John Sneve, Steve Roper, Tiffany Gleason, Kathe Hall, Jesse Hunter, Bob Mackey (front l to r) Tucker Green, Donna Torres, Donna McDonald, Mary Ghorley, Heather Pence

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