Sumter County - Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Those are two of the most common season's greetings, but sometimes the holidays are all but Happy. "Unfortunately during the season, there is a slight increase of domestic issues," says Sumter County Chief Deputy Eric Bryant.
Bryant says those issues are usually related to money, and this year there may be even more of them. He says, "Here in our community there have been some employers who have started laying off around the holiday season, and it becomes quite depressing for anyone."
The most recent layoffs happened just last week in Americus. Collins and Aikman told its 3rd shift employees to turn in their badges, leaving 82 people out of a job, just two weeks before Christmas.
Sumter County isn't the only place in South Georgia feeling the job crunch. In Albany, Merck recently announced they will close by this time next year, leaving 350 people unemployed, that's in addition to the 55 employees laid off earlier this year. Plus, Bobs Candies Albany plant closed just last month, cutting another 250 jobs.
Bryant says, "If it's something related around the holidays, 'I can't provide', or 'I'm unable to provide', we have community groups and civic organizations and even here in our office, someone we direct these people to for assistance to help them during this holiday season."
And he hopes more people will turn for help, before they turn to violence this holiday season. Chief Bryant says if people don't have money to spend, they shouldn't. Taking out loans or running up credit card debt to buy presents will only increase stress levels.