COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF)-The group donated to three organizations this year, one which was Child Enrichment– a charity whose focus is to help children in need. 

“Over the course of the year we have two fair– this is our spring fair and of course we have one in the fall. And from the monies derived, we support a lot of community organizations, a number of them– in our community– that are in need of help and we’ve done that since we began,” Member of Merchants Association Steve Johnston said.

Members of the Merchants Association started collecting funds for different charities within their community when Columbia County Spring Fair began on April 23rd.

“It’s all based on admission tickets and the more people that come, the more we can do for the community.”

They were unsure of the amount they would be able to donate, based on the initial turnout of the fair. 

“We had a small attendance the first few days of the fair and we were kind of worried about what we’d be able to do because we’ve got to generate the money in order to give the money.” 

So far, $125,000 has been donated to the Child Enrichment organization which serves nine different areas across the CSRA.

“We provide forensic interviews for children when there’s allegations of abuse, free trauma counseling and advocates for kids in foster care. So, what we’re going to be doing is building a brand new facility to meet the growing needs in our community,” Child enrichment executive Director Kari Viola-Brooke said.

Both organizations agree that what they do has a great impact on their community.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the children needing our services. Within the past seven years we’ve seen a 60% increase in children needing services at Child Enrichment,” Viola-Brooke said.

“We’ve always prided ourselves in having a family fair and family includes mom and dad and kids and that kind of ties into everything we do. That’s just baked into who we are,” Johnston said.

Having already served over 20,000 children within the community, the Merchants Association continues to add to that amount annually.