Partnerships paying off, in many ways

Photo of Student Government Association students in front of Zaxby's.

Bainbridge State College Student Government Association members, from the left, are Harli Singleton of Vada, Rachel McCullough of Calvary and Jessica Barwick of Bainbridge say the fund-raising partnership between Zaxby’s and the SGA has raised enough money to fund a scholarship later this year.

Partnerships between Bainbridge’s Zaxby’s restaurant and local educational institutions are paying off, and paying off in ways far beyond just the bottom line.

For Bainbridge State College’s Student Government Association, it plans to give a deserving student the association’s first scholarship later this year after raising enough money during its monthly Zaxby’s nights, College officials said.

For the Decatur County Board of Education and its affiliates, such programs as the high school cheerleaders, Junior ROTC, student recognition programs and many others, the fund-raising programs and charity from Zaxby’s has been extremely helpful. Zaxby’s partnership with the BOE has been going on for several years now, according to to Dr. Fred Rayfield, superintendent of schools.

“The partnership we have with Zaxby’s has been outstanding. They partner with us on Teacher of the Year Recognition and parental involvement from a system level and work with most of our schools to sponsor Zaxby’s fund-raising nights,” Dr. Rayfield said. “The Decatur County School System enjoys and appreciates the great partnership that we have with our Zaxby’s location.”

For Zaxby’s General Store Manager April Lewis: “There is power in partnerships.”

A 2008 graduate of Bainbridge High School and a former student at Bainbridge State, Lewis said the store profits from the special fund-raisers, but more importantly, the store is there for the local educational institutions and for the community in a myriad of ways.

“Education is the starting block for it all,” Lewis said. “It’s good for me, and I can give back to the community.”

The reach of the partnerships is multi-dimensional.

Through the support of the community, the store has added several positions at the restaurant, and in fact one of her former employees, Jamey Sanders of Bainbridge, was recently promoted to be the general manager of the Zaxby’s restaurant in Kissimmee, Fla. At 24 years old, Lewis said she has been able to purchase a home and been able to afford purchasing vehicles through her job growth at Zaxby’s.

Furthermore, the charity work supported by ZAX, Inc., doing business as Zaxby’s in Bainbridge, sees these partnerships bolstering the community as a whole and those educational charities in particular.

“We are really trying to go above and beyond to help our community,” Lewis said.

Bainbridge State Student Government Association President Rachel McCullough said Zaxby’s reached out to the College.

“April saw the value of getting involved in the community,” McCullough said. “They said they wanted to more visible with the College.”

The association and Zaxby’s had two fund-raising nights so far this year, and on Tuesday, April 8, the third night is scheduled between 5 – 8 p.m. During those three hours, SGA receives 10 percent of all sales from that restaurant, and students and employees of Bainbridge State receive 20 percent off, Lewis said.

McCullough said Zaxby’s helps the association advertise the event and allows SGA students to become involved during the event such as holding up signs outside the restaurant and greeting patrons.

“It’s amazing because they do everything,” McCullough said, adding that the signs they like to hold up during their fund-raisers say “Your meal — our future.”

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