Businesses, organizations and WTOC teamed up to provide free water bottles to students

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 2:58 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Enmarket, ExperCare, the Georgia Ports, Gulfstream, Critz, Goodwill, Thomas and Hutton, the YMCA, and WTOC.

All these groups stepped up to help fill a need for students in the Coastal Empire by providing water bottles.

Which may not seem like a big deal, but it’s about much more than hydration.

“I don’t know that there’s anything that people don’t know. I think it might be things people don’t think about,” said Diana Morrison of Ad Specialty.

One of those things you might not think about, the importance of a water bottle at school.

“You know a couple years ago when COVID started we shutdown water fountains,” said Effingham County School District Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford.

Replacing them with water bottle fillers.

A decision made by many school districts to help slow the spread of COVID.

But one that could come with a setback for some students.

“I mean the kids who forget to bring their water bottles or can’t afford one,” said Effingham County High School Sophomore Nathan Hayes.

Leaving some high and dry.

That is until last year when the Savannah Chatham County Public School System approached Morrison and Ad Specialty asking for water bottles, which, with the help of the community, they were able to supply.

“Once we had done it for Chatham County, Bryan County and Effingham County started raising their hand and saying, ‘hey can you help us?’”

Of course, with more districts this year that meant getting a little more help, “and the community stepped up,” said Morrison.

Which meant students here at Effingham County High School could get a free water bottle.

It’s nice to have your community behind your back,” said ECHS Junior Rylee Mills.

The community sending a message in a bottle.

“We know where value is and we know that our next level of workforce coming up in our school system today is valuable and we must nurture it,” Morrison said.

A message it seems they certainly received.

“It’s such a wonderful thing to have. It’s a little thing you don’t really think about but you really need throughout the day and we’re just grateful for it,” said Hayes.

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