COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. - One local church has stepped up to meet the needs of children in the Columbia County School District.

Abilene Baptist Church presented a check to the district Friday morning. Sr. Pastor Dr. Brad Whitt says when he found out students had nearly $10,000 in unpaid lunch money balances, his congregation was eager to help. He says he hopes the generosity inspires others who may be in a position to help the youth in local communities.

"My prayer is that other churches, organizations, individuals say, 'Hey, we can help in that way,'" says Whitt. "Even in Columbia County, there are a lot of families who struggle and food insecurity is a big problem in out county."

According to county policy, students who accumulate more than $14.25 in cafeteria debt are offered an alternate to the standard school lunch. The county confirms this donation from Abilene Baptist Church will cover current debts and leave a surplus.