ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Christmas came a little early for almost 100 students at Albany's Turner Elementary School. Commissioner Jack Stone bought the belts for students in need at the school. He delivered them to some excited children Monday.
Many students said they've never owned a belt before, but you could tell by their reactions all 88 boys were more than grateful for the gift. Commissioner Stone says he hopes this helps a younger generation realize the importance of keeping one's pants up at an early age.
He may not look much like Santa Claus, but Stone helped nearly 100 elementary school students celebrate Christmas a little early.
"I'm happy they gave me a belt," said student Terrance Boyd.
"For some of them, it may be the only thing they get for a while. It makes me feel good about them getting their needs met," said Stone.
Assistant Principal Carrie Kirkland estimates 35 to 40 percent of the students at her school do not have belts. "On duty in the morning I see children walking up with their hands on their pants holding them up because the pants are too big for them."
We asked one boy if he had any belts. "No..." he said.
So what happens to the pants? "They be falling!"
But for many of these children, it's not because they don't want to wear a belt, it's because they've never had one. "Tears came to my eyes a while ago," said Stone. "A lot of these kids never had a belt. A lot of these kids came here today without belts."
Marcellious Jenkins says this is the first belt he's ever owned. Without the belt he got at school, he would not have any belts at home. He's only 6 years old, but Jenkins already understands the importance of keeping his pants up. "I should put my belt on because they might fall on the ground."
Last week the city passed an indecency ordinance, and commissioner Stone, who says he has been concerned with saggy pants for a long time now, hopes this will teach students at a young age the importance of keeping their pants pulled up.
"This may be one of the main problems we have now with the grown people with the pants hanging down, maybe they didn't have a belt, and maybe that's driven them to where they are," Stone said.
300 students told teachers they did not have belts, and a little more than 100 were put on the list.
The assistant principal says they took care of the boys first because they always wear pants but they also have plenty girls who would benefit from a belt as well.
Commissioner Stone says he plans to deliver more belts to students in need in the future.
You can help purchase belts for more students in need:
Jack Stone, Sr. 1805 Hancock Road Albany, GA 31705
Home telephone: (229) 432-1810 Work telephone (229) 886-2277
Commissioner Jack Stone Self is self-employed, and runs an auto dealership and RV park.