NORMAN — A group of women have worked tirelessly all summer to send 80 teachers who lost everything in the May 20 tornadoes back to school ready to teach.
“What these teachers did that day, and every other day for that matter, is out of love and devotion for our children,” said Brandye Taylor, one of the five organizers of Restore Moore: Project Teacher. “We have been humbled to be able to be part of something so great. We are excited that we are close to being able to put the money in the teachers’ hands.”
Eighty teachers lost everything at Plaza Towers Elementary, Briarwood Elementary and Highland East, Taylor said. The Restore Moore project aimed to make sure those teachers had the supplies they needed to teach and make their classrooms happy places for their students once they returned.
Today, people have the chance to be part of the project by eating at Johnny Carino’s Italian Grill. Residents can tell servers that they are there to support Restore Moore: Project Teacher. The restaurant will give 10 percent off of the diner’s ticket, and 20 percent of the proceeds will go to the Restore Moore: Project Teacher.
“We are very close to our goal, which is to be able to give all 80 teachers $1,000 each,” Taylor said. “We love the fact that 100 percent of all of the money raised goes directly into the hands of the teachers.”
The women banded together to recognize the teachers who protected children that day.
“Individually, our hearts were stirred to do something to help our community after May 20,” Taylor said.
From the beginning, they were out helping pick up the pieces of destruction in whatever way they could, but more had to be done.
“A couple of the girls wanted to do something specifically for the teachers. The five of us came together over dinner one night in June. When we left that night, we had a purpose, a name and a goal,” Taylor said.
The women said they have been moved by the many incredible things that happened on this journey.
“Our favorite isn’t one specific thing. It’s the fact that people all over the United States have been moved to help our teachers,” she said. “That they have planned kickball events in South Carolina, have set up lemonade stands in Alabama, have collected birthday money for us in lieu of presents in Norman.
“This has been such a collective effort. We have seen that people care and our teachers are loved.”
Donations also can be sent to Restore Moore: Project Teacher, P.O. Box 891385, Oklahoma City, OK, 73189, or individuals can find a PayPal link on the Facebook page “Restore Moore: Project Teacher.”
The group plans to wrap collections up by next week.