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Knox students issued supplies

Tequila Bennett signs her children’s names as Quinesha and Synclair Bennett receive new backpacks from volunteer Janice Lane, whose husband teaches fourth grade at Knox. -- Alison McFerrin

By Alison McFerrin

The Selma Times-Journal

School preparations are well underway, but Knox Elementary School fourth graders marked one item off the list Saturday.

The John Carroll Foundation provided backpacks of school supplies to 240 fourth graders at Knox Elementary School.

“I’m just excited about seeing the kids’ faces,” John Carroll said.

The John Carroll Foundation has been in place for four years. Carroll said he cultivated a serving spirit from his great-grandmother, who always helped those who needed it. She invited community members in for meals, or to help themselves from her garden.

“I didn’t know until I was older that a lot of the people who were eating there were impoverished,” Carroll said.

But Carroll said he has been blessed and fortunate throughout the years, and found that he wanted to help people, as well.

“(The foundation) came out of a need of veterans and single mothers and people in the community who weren’t doing very well,” Carroll said. “I can’t save the world, but I can say that I tried to help somebody.”

While Carroll has helped a variety of people in many different ways — with bills, housing and food — he said he saw a real need for the school supplies.

“With the economy the way it is now … I decided I could assist a lot more people by helping them with school supplies,” Carroll said.

But helping local communities isn’t the only way he serves.

Carroll is a U.S. Marine, and he wants to keep serving the country he loves — even when he is overseas in another country.

Carroll was present at the backpack giveaway, but returns to Afghanistan on Monday — he will rely on others oversee his other programs, like the Thanksgiving dinners giveaway.

“That is probably the greatest holiday,” Carroll said. “That’s what this country was founded on.

“It is important that you sit and are able to eat and have dinner with a family,” Carrol said. His foundation will provide 200 turkey dinners to people in need.

Other upcoming events include the coat donations in winter, three scholarships in May for Selma students going to college and the donation of a refurbished house to a single mother sometime in the spring.

“I don’t have to be present to give,” Carroll said. “Just because I’m not there doesn’t mean that this can’t go on.”

In the end, “it’s all about helping somebody.”

“People need help year-round,” Carroll said. “A lot of people are unemployed … so if we can get a couple of people to smile and just forget about their worries for a day, then maybe that’s a blessing from God.”
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