Unity in the Community provides school supplies for Savannah’s youth

Non-profit takes donations for kids from community

Local crafter Myka Fetty straightens her merchandise at the Unity in the Community festival on Sunday. Fetty’s baby apparel and supply business, That’s So Willow,  sells handmade baby supplies, with everything from bows to burp cloths to blankets. (Will Peebles/Savannah Morning News)

River Street was bustling with local artists and crafters on Sunday for the monthly Unity in the Community festival.

 

Unity takes to the Rousakis Plaza on the third weekend of every month from April until December, with a new theme each time. This month, the group was trying to get local students ready to return to the classroom with donated school supplies.


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Unity co-founder Sharon Butts’ time as a teacher showed her just how important that can be.

“Being a teacher, I understand how important it is for students to have what everybody else has on the first day. But that’s the pie-in-the-sky outlook,” Butts said. “The reality is, not everybody can do that.”

Sharon and her husband, fellow Unity co-founder Craig Butts, have held the monthly event for the last three years. She said Saturday is usually when most people come to the events, and on Sunday, her husband swaps personas.

Craig Butts steps aside and lets Mr. Brown take the spotlight. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mr. Brown cues up the Motown hits and invites passersby onstage to sing and dance with him.

But beneath the fun exterior is Unity’s charitable core. This weekend, the non-profit took donations of school supplies from the community and distributed them to kids who need them. Everything from notebook paper, rulers, glue sticks, ink pens, pencils, spiral notebooks, uniforms, backpacks — all packaged and ready for school.

“It’s a community effort,” Butts said. “We’ve had people come out and say, ‘I have six children, and I need school supplies for all of them.’ And we say, ‘Great! We have six sets of school supplies for you.’”

Local crafter Myka Fetty and her baby boy Jagger were enduring the July heat underneath a tent on Sunday. Fetty’s baby apparel and supply business, That’s So Willow, was one of the many local vendors provided a spot during the festival.

Fetty, a mother of two, makes and sells handmade baby supplies, with everything from bows to burp cloths and blankets.

“Being a mom, sometimes you feel like there’s more to life, and to be able to have a little crafty side and be able to make some money for my family has been amazing,” Fetty said. “Also the non-profit aspect of things is wonderful too, I think it’s a great company and they’ve been great to us.”

Artist Ruth Hunter also offered her services to the festival. Hunter i was doing brush portraits with ink on Sunday. She said the value of community is shown by how active you are in it, which is why she was at Unity in the Community.

“I do this for a living,” Hunter said. “I’ve been a working artist for 25 years. It provides me a way to make my income and also help out the community. It’s about being part of it.”

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