Latasha Everson/The Tifton Gazette
The familiar flock of pink, plastic flamingos rested on the front lawn of Tift County Board of Education member Dr. Kim Ezekiel Thursday afternoon to kick off the 2013 Flamingo Flocking fundraiser presented by the Tift County Council on Child Abuse.
Beth Lewis, president of the council, said Ezekiel’s lawn was chosen for the first flocking because she cares about the children in this community and is very involved in education.
“She’s the celebrity of the day,” she stated, smiling, as she and Lillie McIntyre of the Tift County Commission on Children and Youth placed the plastic flamingos in front of Ezekiel’s home.
Ezekiel, who’s been flocked before, said, “I’m excited.”
She stated that several years ago, the plastic birds visited her home. She said she believes in the Tift County Council on Child Abuse and the work that they do to help alleviate and address child abuse. She stated that she was thrilled to help with their efforts when she was contacted about having the pink, plastic birds placed on her front lawn.
Ezekiel, smiling and staring at the plastic flamingos, said, “I didn’t know I was going to have that many plastic birds in my yard.”
The pink flamingos help raise awareness and funds for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. During February of each year, two flocks of the lovable pink, plastic birds arrive daily on different lawns across the county. Those who find a flock of flamingos inhabiting their yard are asked to pay a fee of approximately $20 to the Child Abuse Council to ensure their safe removal. As a bonus, the donor gets to choose the next temporary residence of the birds.
According to Ezekiel, she has a few people in mind who she would like to be next in having their yard evaded by the pink, plastic birds.
Lewis said the council has been doing the Flamingo Flocking fundraiser for about 13 years now and as the president, she stated, “We’re trying to prevent child abuse in our community. There’s ‘no excuse for abuse.’ I’ve always said, ‘it shouldn’t hurt to be a child.’”
A past president of the council, United Way’s Executive Director Greg Millette, said in a past article that the fundraiser is “a fun way to raise funds for the fight against child abuse. As the flocks travel to homes throughout the county, people passing by are also reminded of the urgent need to protect and serve our children.”
The Tift County Council on Child Abuse is a nonprofit organization operated entirely by community volunteers with local financial support. All donated money remains in the community. The organization is committed to raising awareness of child abuse issues in Tift County in hopes of preventing future abuse and neglect. Annual awareness include the Flamingo Flocking, Pinwheel Display at the Tift County Courthouse and Blue Ribbon Campaign.
The council also supports the ongoing efforts of local agencies, such as regularly providing materials and volunteers to assist the school system in implementation of personal safety programs — Red Flag, Green Flag and the ‘It’s Okay to Tell’ Puppet Show.
For those who are interested in supporting the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Tift County, call 388-1000.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.