The Woodstock City Council took a moment at its most recent meeting to present a handful of food pantries in the city, as well as schools serving city students, with grant money to help them help those they serve.

During the meeting, Mayor Donnie Henriques presented $2,000 to the food pantry operated by the Bascomb Thrift Store, $5,000 to Timothy’s Cupboard, $10,000 for the First Baptist Church of Woodstock food pantry, $10,000 to Never Alone and $10,000 to Encompass, formerly known as Papa’s Pantry. The city also had $90,000 in grant money it gifted to the Cherokee County School District, which would go to purchase mobile Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity devices.

Henriques said the grants were able to be offered through money provided to the city through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, explaining that some of the money received from the government was used to cover expenses the city had incurred, while Assistant City Manager Coty Thigpen had the idea of offering some of the additional money as grant funds to entities like the food pantries and school system.

“Woodstock’s City Council identified an opportunity to address a growing food insecurity need that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Henriques said. “We are happy to serve as a partner to those in our community that serve our residents so well.”

As each of the food pantries receiving assistance came forward to be recognized and receive a ceremonial check representing their grant money, all of them expressed thanks for the financial support from the city.

When schools began to transition to online learning in the spring as a result of the pandemic, students’ need to have reliable internet access became a key concern. With the money given to the county school system, the city was helping purchase 270 connectivity devices that would be used by students at the schools located within the city limits of Woodstock.

“The City Council prioritized funding to provide these devices because we want to break down obstacles to digital learning for Woodstock’s students,” Henriques said. “Many families in our city are facing hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we don’t want any student in the City of Woodstock to not have the tools they need to be successful.”

CCSD Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower added, “How thrilled I am to receive this money and to be partnering with the city of Woodstock. We are so appreciative of this. We’ll flat put it to work.”

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