Pink flamingos apparently fly to South Georgia for the winter – and you'll be seeing them in various spots throughout Tift County this month as part of the Tift County Child Abuse Council's annual fundraising campaign.
The flock appeared Friday at county Commissioner Melissa Chevers' home.
"I'm very excited that I'm the first to be flocked," Chevers said. "It's very heart sickening to know that we are living in a city, a nation, a world where our children are being abused. We have to come together to stop this abuse from happening to our children and our young people."
Chevers said she hopes that people in Tifton and Tift County will take hold of this cause, to help prevent what she called a "hidden disease."
"We can put socks on them, we can feed them, but how can we stop this abuse? We have to stop being silent. We must be visual, and make sure we get them the help they need. It ends up being a cycle; if they are abused as a child, they will grow up to abuse," she said. "How can our children be our future when they are beaten down on so many levels?"
The "flockings" are a creative way to raise both awareness and funds for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Those who find their yards filled with the birds are asked to pay $20 to the Child Abuse Council to have them removed. The fun part, as past "victims" have found, is that they can also choose the next landing spot for the birds.
Beth Lewis, who is president of the Council, said this is the 14th year for the flockings, and that Chevers was chosen because the Council thought she would be a great advocate for he prevention of child abuse and neglect.
"We just thought she'd be the person to get it started," Lewis added.
And Chevers already has – she's selected the next "victim," Joanne Howard.
The Council is a nonprofit organization operated by local volunteers with local financial support. Other awareness events include the annual pinwheel display at the Tift County Courthouse, which represents the number of children who are abused or neglected each year, and the blue ribbon campaign. Additionally, the Council provides materials and volunteers to assist Tift County's schools in the implementation of personal safety programs, and presents the "It's OK to Tell" puppet show.
For more information on the Council or to support the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Tift County, call 388-1000.
To contact editor Angye Morrison, call 382-4321.