Many services offered, much help needed in Bladen County

By Chrysta Carroll -

ELIZABETHTOWN — Though they hadn’t met since May, health professionals from around Bladen County picked right back up where they left off when they met Tuesday to resume their monthly Healthy Bladen Collaborative meetings at the health department.

Highlights from the meeting included:

— Ernest Watts, Tobacco Lead for the region encompassed by Bladen County, revealed that the FDA recently rolled out new regulations governing e-cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, and liquid nicotine. Some of the changes, which include how tobacco products will be labeled, will not take effect until 2018, and some are effective immediately. A complete list can be found online at

— Secretary of the Bladen Ministerial Association John Goodman informed the group that two fundraiser auctions, Oct. 1 in White Lake and Oct. 8 in Bladenboro, will take place to raise money for the ministry at Southeastern Carolina Crossroads.

— Pinnacle Family Resources offers at-home mental health services for children and their families.

— Sandra Cain, director for Bladen County Cooperative Extension, reminded the group of her organization’s Life Skills program, to which youth are referred by law enforcement or school personnel. Students attend classes on topics like peer pressure while concurrent parenting classes are offered for their caregivers. Cain reported that the latter, especially, have been well received and effective.

The Teen Court at the extension office is currently petitioning participants. The court, run by trained teenagers, functions as a real court and hands out sentences such as community service.

Surveys are being conducted by the Cooperative Extension. Residents are asked to stop by the extension office or by Bladenboro Hardware to vote on whether 15 cents per ton of fertilizer sold should be given to education. The survey is conducted every six years and has passed since 1948, providing $1.44 million annually to North Carolina education.

The Peanut Festival is calling cooks to participate in its recipe contest. Dishes will be judged in three separate categories: Candy, bread and dessert. Contestants will be divided into two age groups: Youth (ages 8 to 16) and Adult (ages 17 and up), and cash prizes will be awarded to winners. The deadline for applications in Sept. 15.

— More than 11,000 lunches and 10,000 breakfasts were served during the summer by Bladen County Schools, according to Child Nutrition Coordinator Amy Stanley, who also said the program delivered meals via bus into certain areas.

— The Bladen County Division on Aging is looking for volunteers to deliver meals two or three times per week between 10:30 a.m. and noon. They are also seeking individuals to help with home improvement projects. Willing individuals can contact 910-872-6330.

— Kelcey Edwards, director of the Bladen County Library, informed the group that the library now has online tutoring and employment help available from 2 to 11 p.m.

— The Department of Social Services is in need of individuals willing to support foster children for Christmas.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Chrysta Carroll

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