Hickory Log Vocational School’s residents will be able to “ride in comfort and cleanliness,” thanks to a $2,500 grant from the Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation. The nonprofit was one of 12 efforts earning funds from the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia affiliate.
“We were very happy to learn that the Northwest Georgia Community Foundation had chosen Hickory Log to receive a grant this year,” said Patty Eagar, interim executive director of Hickory Log Vocational School. “Our needs are so great in so many areas, and this money will be spent to install a working air conditioner in our bus, and do a deep clean of all four of our vehicles.
“We depend on the car, vans and bus for the residents' transportation to work at five places, Special Olympics, outings, and lots of doctor and dentist appointments. We don't like to have many of them just sitting at home.”
Situated at 3680 Highway 411 in White, Hickory Log provides shelter and training for up to 24 intellectually and developmentally disabled men. The nonprofit was established in 1970 to meet the needs of Bartow residents who before had to use out-of-county facilities.
“In the early years, the residents were ages 14-31, but in the past 20 years, they range from 35 to 83,” she said. “Two have been here 40 years, and one moved to Hickory Log directly after aging out of DFCS care as a teenager. Their disabilities include Down syndrome, schizophrenia, stroke, heart problems, dementia, very low IQ and more.”
Along with the Foundation’s grant, Hickory Log is supported financially by United Way of Bartow County, and its residents’ Social Security or family payments. Currently in need of additional volunteers, Eagar said the nonprofit continues to receive assistance from churches, organizations and local residents.
“We are grateful for the support we get from this community,” Eagar said, also noting Bartow County government owns Hickory Log’s facility and property. “To our knowledge, there are no other facilities in Georgia who offer this kind of living at such a low price.
“These men deserve a happy and healthy place to live as much as everyone else does, and a low number of staff do an incredible job of caring for them. It's hard work, but it is a happy place. And now they can ride in comfort and cleanliness.”
The Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation awarded a total of $25,483 in grants. Along with Hickory Log, other recipients included Woodland High School, $500 for its Student Needs Closet; Red Door Food Pantry, $5,000 to purchase food for its Emerson service area; Good Shepherd Foundation, $2,000 to construct work tables; Bartow 4-H, $4,000 for its robotics program; Bartow Collaborative, $1,000 for Bartow Give a Kid a Chance; Etowah Valley Historical Society, $3,000 to support its Bartow History Scholar program and Quiz Bowl over the next three years; Margaret and Luke Pettit Environmental Preserve, $1,000 for the construction of an indoor fireplace education area; Boy Scouts of America’s Northwest Georgia Council, $600 to purchase a kayak for Camp Sidney Dew; The Pumphouse Players Inc., $2,000 for the “Brave Little Tailor” Pumphouse Junior production; REACH Bartow, $3,050 for REACH scholarships; and YMCA, $3,000 to help Bartow youth attend Camp High Harbour.
“Through the years, our grants have bridged gaps,” stated Patrick Nelson, Foundation chair, in a news release. “We’ve funded projects that provide food for families in need, promote literacy, shelter the homeless, help low-income and at-risk students thrive, and so much more.
“These projects not only help individuals and families become stable and more successful, but they serve the greater good and contribute to the quality of life of everyone who lives or works here in Bartow County.”