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General Mills donates more than $240,000 to local groups
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Employees of General Mills’ Covington plant donated about $240,000 to Newton and Rockdale nonprofit organizations at a reception Friday.

The company received more than 30 grant applications from the local community and was able to provide for 17 of them. Approximately $170,000 was divided among 16 organizations. The  17th organization, Covington-Newton County United Way, received the largest donation to the tune of $66,000 from the Covington plant, which will be matched by General Mills’ corporate office.

“I’m proud and thankful for our values as a company,” said Mark Bible, Covington plant manager and 15-year General Mills employee. “I’m proud we’re able to stand up and present $170,000 back to the community, especially at this time.”

The Community Action Council at the Covington plant is comprised of a variety of employees from technicians to team leaders. The council reviews all grant applications and decides what organizations’ missions fall in line with the companies core values. Grants are typically awarded to groups who encourage good nutrition and exercise for children.

The 17 recipients of 2009 General Mills Community Action Council grants are:

The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta
    The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta provides programming for children in the Newton/Rockdale area designed to inspire productive citizenship. The grant will support the club’s Commit to Be Fit program, which provides fitness activities and competitions, healthy lifestyle instructions and health fairs.

Camp Twin Lakes
    The camp caters to children with serious illnesses and special needs, especially those coming from economically disadvantaged homes. The Campership Program, which reduces costs to campers by 70 percent, will benefit from the grant.

D.A.R.E. Program

    The local Drug Abuse Resistance Program is a collaboration of the public safety sector and county schools. The grant will be used for t-shirts (with a General Mills logo) for D.A.R.E. graduates as well as a video production of a “reality wreck” for high school students.
    “We’re the only program in the state of Georgia where the police department and the sheriff’s department work together to support this program,” said Capt. Willie Davis, D.A.R.E. commander.

The Arts Association in Newton County
    Grant money will fund scholarships for underprivileged youth, subsidies for musical and artistic instruction and outreach for the Young Artists Program of the Arts Association as well as support local concerts and events.
    “Because these programs are so important to our youth,” said Buncie Lanners, director of the Arts Association, “I urge you to come see what they do.”

Covington Family YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta
    The YMCA Partner with Youth program provides scholarships and discounted rates to families in need. The grant will support this program. Director Louly Hay Kapp thanked General Mills for their help throughout the years.
    “They seem the backbone of why we’re able to continue,” Kapp said.

Eastside High School
    Eastside will use grant monies to purchase materials and technology for hands-on activities and scientific examinations in its food science program Nutrition, Wellness, Food Science: Healthier Lifestyles for All.

Fairview Elementary School

    Fairview will use their grant money for a five-hour program on Saturdays called Seeing the Future Healthy and Fit Generation. The money will purchase nutritious snacks for underperforming children in math and reading who participate in the program, so they are able to focus better in their studies.

Indian Creek Middle School

    Indian Creek will use its grant money to provide academic instruction  and exposure to a multitude of educational opportunities in nutrition-related sciences.

J.H. House Elementary School
    This Rockdale County elementary school will buy supplies and equipment for its Healthy Habits for a Lifetime program.

Middle Ridge Elementary School
    Grant money will support the school’s Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds program.

Newton County Senior Services
    Senior Services’ Project Enrichment program will benefit from the grant. The program provides home delivery meals, nutritional screenings, health-related workshops and exercise activities such as line dancing.
    “It helps that y’all are thinking about the elderly,” said Josephine Brown, director of senior services, to the General Mills employees present, “because we’re all headed that way.”

Prevent Child Abuse Newton
    Grant money will fund Tuesday and Thursday dinners for families in the organization’s Nurturing Parent Program, which helps educate parents about the importance of a healthy diet and of families eating together.

Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale
    This organization will use grant money to fund weekly meals for families in its Active Parenting Program.

Project ReNeWal
    Project ReNeWal provides a Healthy Eating program for the victims of domestic violence that the center assists. Grant money will benefit the program, which teaches families principles of nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet.

Rainbow Community Center

    Grant funds will support the homeless shelter’s Take Me Back Home Program by purchasing the gas for vehicles used to reunited shelter residents with their families. Monies will also be used to purchase healthy food as well as educational materials.
    “With all you’ve done for us,” said Doug Doster to General Mills employees, “my prayer is that it will be given back to you many times over.”

Washington Street Community Center
    The Center will use grant monies for its Fun and Fitness Program, which serves disadvantage youth will physical fitness activities and nutritional education opportunities. Snacks and equipment for the program will be purchased with the funds.
    “Not only do you give of money and funds,” said Bea Jackson, WSCC director, to the General Mills employees present, “you give of your time.”