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Mars donates $1,000 to Lily Pad SANE Center

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- Money has been scarce at an area organization whose role is to assist those in the community that have found themselves in desperate situations.

One of Albany's major employers recently came to the rescue.

The local Mars Chocolate plant donated $1,000 to the Lily Pad Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Center Wednesday.

The process began last year when the plant's parent company issued a challenge to reduce waste, and in return, the plant received funds for reaching targets that had been set by the company.

The plant then opted to give the money it acquired through the incentive program to the Lily Pad.

"They (the parent company) told us we could do anything we wanted with the money," said Kelvin Graham, the plant's manager.

The challenge also came with an advantage for the company in that it helped the plant's departments run more smoothly.

"The less scrap and waste you have, the more efficient you are, the more productive you are and the less money you spend," Graham said. "You have 100 percent going in and you want 100 percent coming out."

The targets were set based on a certain percentage the plant was required to hit. The plant was checked by the company on a monthly basis, and was successful in meeting its goal most of the months during 2010 -- which was when the incentive program was ongoing.

The recipient was selected by the plant employees themselves.

"We gave the opportunity for associates to give a nomination," Graham said. "The associates submitted names and I choose (the entity that received) the majority.

"(The Lily Pad donation) made me feel good. We are happy to continue to provide good community service."

This donation came at a time when the Lily Pad, which serves 35 counties in Southwest Georgia, had been operating on a lean budget.

"It's really exciting because it was something unsolicited. The employees made the decision on their own," said Lily Pad Executive Director Karen Kemp. "(The money came) when we've seen a decline in grant funds and have had an increase in the number of people (coming to the Lily Pad).

"The community has responded so well."

The check from Mars will likely go toward the center's nursing program for the purchase of forensic supplies.

"This is a first from Mars in what we hope will be an enduring partnership," Kemp said.

In other news, the Lily Pad is currently planning the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event set to take place March 26 at the Deerfield-Windsor School track. Officials hope to send out forms for the event in the next week with the goal of attracting 150-200 men.