AU Healthy Grandparents program supporting families during holidays

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HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF) — It had been years since Natasha and Steve Lewis had a little one living in their home. When their granddaughter, Madison, needed to be cared for, they stepped in to raise her.

“It was day by day learning how to be a grandmother slash momma overnight,” Natasha Lewis said.

It was a big adjustment but one the Lewis’ did not have to do alone. They got in contact with Augusta University’s Healthy Grandparents program, which helps grandparents and great grandparents who are raising their grandkids in Richmond and Columbia Counties.

“The grandparents do a wonderful job of taking care of the needs of the grandchildren,” Mike Patton, the program’s coordinator, explained. “They just need a little help along the way.”

Since the program began in 1999, Augusta University has helped more than 500 families — whether it be with legal assistance, medical care or helping grandkids get school supplies or go to summer camp.

“Some grandparents don’t know what resources are out there that can help us with our grandchildren,” Lewis said.

The program recently got some help itself. The Columbia County Merchants association donated $5,000 to the program this holiday season. It will go a long way.

“If we didn’t have that help, we’d maybe help 50 families,” Patton said. “Now, we’re going to help 100 to 125 families.”

Joining AU Healthy Grandparents

Augusta University continues to accept new families. If you are interested, call Mike Patton at (706) 721-6227. More information can be found here.

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