PLAINS, Ga. (WRBL) – After traveling the world and campaigning across the country, Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter have shifted their efforts of giving back to the place they were both born and raised.
‘Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.’ have been the guiding principles of The Carter Center, around the world and across the country, and now they’re coming home to Plains, through the Carter Plains Foundation.
Chip Carter, son of the Former President and Former First Lady, is proud to lead the effort on the home front.
“We were talking one night with mom and dad, and dad was saying, with everything he’s done for the folks in Georgia when he was Governor, and all the things he has done for the people of the country with his non-profit, The Carter Center, dealt with poor people across the world and now that he’s back home, it’s time to do that for the people in Plains,” said Chip Carter.
Established in 2020, the goal of the Carter Plains Foundation is simple: to eradicate substandard housing in Plains for underserved members of their hometown.
Dr. Andrea Walker, Secretary Treasure of the Carter Plains Foundation, who also serves as a teacher in Sumter County says the work is rewarding after learning of how widespread poverty is in Plains.
“I saw the poverty but didn’t realize how close to home it hit and how bad it was,” said Dr. Walker.
City Council and folks in town identified just over 20 homes to begin with and it all started in November of 2020 after a receiving a donation of 14 roofs. Since then, they’ve relied on fundraising and word of mouth, to continue their efforts of generosity. This could be by replacing a roof or installing an HVAC system.
From rebuilding homes to ending poverty, Chip Carter says it all goes hand in hand with the foundations’ desire to give back.
“It’s a way of giving back. We’ve gotten so much out of the country… Made so many friends. I’ve been in all 50 states three times, you don’t remember the states, but you remember the people that you meet there. People in this country are wonderful folks, we might disagree politically, but they’ll help their neighbor and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” said Chip Carter.
While the work is long, Rob Perry, Project Manager for the Carter Plains Foundation says it’s all worth it.
“It makes me feel fantastic because I sit in my house just like they do, and now I have the luxury of conditioned air and thinking that one more person has been helped to live a more comfortable life, it just makes me feel fantastic,” says Perry.
The foundation now has a waitlist of folks in need, and despite being slowed down by the pandemic, the Carter Plains Foundation has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“Doing social work in a little town like Plains, with 600 people. It’s kind of like mowing the lawn, you can see how far you’ve been, and how far you’ve got to go. With social work, that’s a very difficult thing to find. I’ve found it some in third world countries where they have absolutely nothing. In Plains, it’s a different kind of thing, trying to bring the community together to help others is something our community has done forever,” said Chip Carter.
The future is bright in Plains, from a community garden to creating more resources for people in need, Carter says the work is far from over.
The Carter Plains Foundation is a 501c3 charity.
For people in need of a helping hand from the Carter Plains Foundation, residents of Plains can fill out the contact form found here.