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General Mills donates $170,000 in grants

COVINGTON - Students in Newton and Rockdale counties may be a little healthier after this week.

On Friday, General Mills of Covington donated $170,000 in grants to student-based organizations and schools in Newton and Rockdale counties. Most of the grants focused on healthy living or physical fitness.

"Health and childhood nutrition is something that we care much about," plant manager Mark Bible said during a grant reception Friday at General Mills. "This has become the best thing I get to do as plant manager. It does good to my heart to know that you all are there doing what you do."

Last year, the company gave $400,000 to area organizations, and Bible said he's proud that the company was able to give again this year considering the rough economic conditions.

"I know what you've done for this community, and we appreciate it," said Cathy Dobbs, a member of the Newton County Board of Education.

The organizations that split the $170,000 of grants include the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, Camp Twin Lakes, Covington Police Department, the Newton County Sheriff's Office, the Arts Association of Newton County, the Covington YMCA, Eastside High School, Fairview and Middle Ridge elementary schools in Covington, Indian Creek Middle School in Covington, J.H. House Elementary School in Conyers, Newton County Senior Services, Prevent Child Abuse Newton and Rockdale, Project ReNeWal, Rainbow Community Center and the Washington Street Community Center.

"I'd like to thank General Mills for their continued support," NCSS grant coordinator Kathy Garber said. "Over the years, I think they've supported almost every school in our county."

Many of the projects to be funded by the grant include healthy snacks, fitness programs, DARE materials, food science, health screenings and workshops, and other health-related topics. One school, Fairview Elementary, is using its money for a climbing wall, which students and teachers will use for educational games in all subject areas and physical education.

Many recipients of the grant money said every donation helps, especially in light of dire economic conditions.

"When I think about General Mills, I think about community service," said Carolyn Poole, principal at J.H. House Elementary School.

General Mills also pledged to donate $66,000 to United Way, which is an 8 percent increase that broke its goal.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.