COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Child Enrichment is getting a helping hand thanks to the Columbia County Merchant’s Association.

The group donated $150,000 to Child Enrichment collected from the proceeds of the Spring and Fall Fairs held by the Merchant’s Association, as well as other fundraisers they’ve held over the past year.

This money, Child Enrichment says, will go toward helping to build a new facility for the non-profit, whose mission for 45 years has been to provide assistance, advocacy, and empathy for children who’ve experienced abuse.   

Kari Viola-Brooke, the Executive Director at Child Enrichment, says that the donation by the Columbia County Merchant’s Association couldn’t have come at a better time, as the new building will meet their need for more space.

“Kids need support and they need services as quick as possible,” Viola-Brooke says. “Our current space, we have a long wait time for therapy, kids getting in for forensic interviews, and we don’t have on-site medical.  In our new facility, we’ll be able to cut those wait times in half,  which is so important to, not only the investigations, but helping kids heal from abuse.” 

The ceremonial check presentation this year was held in front of the nearly completed Child Enrichment expansion.  

Their new building is currently under construction on Walden Drive in Evans, GA, and they hope to be in their new home by July of this year.

So far, they have raised more than $6.07 million for the new facility and they know, more than anyone, that each kindness is a step forward.

The Columbia County Merchants Association each year presents a check with proceeds from their seasonal carnivals to a community organization – this year, they were able to improve on their contribution to Child Enrichment, Inc., after giving $125,000 in 2022. This year, they raised their contribution to $150,000, partially due to local participation in the Columbia County Spring and Fall fairs.

Raising money for local non-profits that make an impact on the community while providing community-based events that bring families together from across the CSRA in a safe and wholesome environment is part o the Merchant Association’s area mission.

The past two years of contributing to the construction of the new Child Enrichment expansion is because they, too, saw how the non-profit was in “desperate need to have a bigger facility to better accommodate the child enrichment services and resources needed” in the CSRA.

The Merchants Association of Columbia County also sponsors The Miss Columbia County Fair Pageant, The Columbia County Fair to be held November 2nd through November 12th, The Martinez-Evans Christmas Parade to be held Sunday, December 3rd, The Ruby Lane and Terry Davis Memorial Golf Tournament, as well as funding scholarships for local graduating seniors aspiring to college, vocational, or missionary studies.