NORMAN — As Oklahoma families continue to recover from the destructive spring storms, they’re also trying to get their children ready to begin a new school year, a task that can be overwhelming by itself, said Tony Sellars, director of communications for Feed the Children.
On Thursday, Feed the Children hosted “Student Strong” in Little Axe, Moore and other communities affected by the storms to help those families get their children ready for the new school year.
“We know it’s really been a challenge with what you’ve had to deal with,” Sellars said.
In Little Axe, families lined up at the elementary school and got their red tickets to turn in for new backpacks, non-perishable food items, personal care kits and more. Smiles and thank you’s were abundant as the families filtered through the line to pick up goodies.
“It’s a good thing. It helps out,” said Stacey Lovins, a resident in the Pecan Valley area.
Lovins has two sons, 12-year-old Garrett and 10-year-old Jakey, one who’s ready to get back to school and one who’s not too excited, she said. Either way, the back-to-school event is helping them out.
“We really appreciate all the help,” Lovins said.
Maryelyn Baxter and her family only lived in the Pecan Valley area for about seven months before they lost their home May 19. Baxter said she’s ready for her girls to get back into a routine and have some normalcy again.
Right now her girls, Aspen and Jade, ages 13 and 15, are living in a tent and she and her husband are living in a trailer that was damaged by the storm, she said.
“It’s actually brought our family a little closer together,” Baxter said.
Sellars said there will be a total of 3,200 families helped by “Student Strong,” with about 200 families being helped in Little Axe and 1,600 families in Moore. The other communities it will help include Shawnee, El Reno and Carney.
“These people are our neighbors,” Sellars said. “We pledge to be with people in recovery every step of the way.”
Sellars said Feed the Children felt like this was one of the best ways they could help out the affected families. Before Thursday, the organization had already donated about $4 million of relief and another 1 million was donated for the back-to-school event.
In addition to Feed the Children donations, other churches and organizations also donated about 400 pairs of shoes, numerous gift cards were donated and a Texas group purchased every item on Little Axe’s school supply list.
Sellars said they plan on hosting more events in the future to continue families with their recovery.
“God bless you and good luck with your recovery,” he said.
Little Axe schools will be in session beginning Monday.