GROW Carter County provides water bottle station to Little Milligan

Published 4:37 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018

Seeing a need, volunteers with GROW Carter County were able to spring into action.

In what will be a day to remember for the entire Little Milligan community, volunteers from GROW Carter County visited the area’s elementary school to recognize the installation of a water bottle refill station. The ability to install the station was made possible from grant money awarded to GROW Carter County, a recently designated Healthier Tennessee Community.

Since its creation and designation, volunteers from different community organizations and businesses joined together to create different projects to help encourage people to move more, eat smarter and cut out tobacco.

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Thursday was an exciting time for volunteers, according to GROW Carter County’s Josh McKinney. The lead representative for the group said the morning rally gave a reality check on the needs of everyone in the community.

“It’s great to know that this project will be able to make a difference in the lives of the families in Little Milligan,” McKinney said. “During the presentation, we were able to learn about how many families have well water and just overall access to water.”

Another key part of the project was the addition of Ballad Health, McKinney said. The health system donated water bottles to each of the children at the school.

“The partnership with Ballad is very important,” McKinney said. “It does cost a bit to install a refill station. And now these children are able to have their own water bottle.”

Thursday was the conclusion that also meant a lot to Crystal Carter. The Community Impact Coordinator with the local United Way branch, which serves as the sponsor for GROW Carter County, gave an update to community members Thursday and said the children and staff on site, including principal J.R. Campbell, were thankful for the station.

Having the project falls in line with the mission of Healthier Tennessee Communities.

“Healthier Tennessee is dedicated to enabling and encouraging Tennesseans to live healthier lives,” Kayla Smith, regional director for the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, said in a statement issued to the Elizabethton Star. “Sugary drinks are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic, and Tennessee has the most obese youth in the nation. The water bottle refill station provided by the GROW Carter County Healthier Tennessee Communities group will provide easy access to filtered water for the youth of the Little Milligan community, and promote water consumption over sugary sweetened beverages at the elementary school.”

Moving forward, McKinney added the next project for the organization is a story trail to encourage childhood literacy with families.