Community members responded in droves when it was made public last week that children were sharing jackets in some of the elementary school classes at M.R. Weaver Elementary. Late last week School Board-elect Reba Phelps was contacted by a local friend who described a need that would have even tugged at the heart of old Ebenezer himself.
Children were sharing jackets so they could keep each other warm. Some jackets were even being given away to children walking home in the cold. Once the Facebook post was made public the support began to pour in from as far as Grant and Winn Parishes. People donated jackets and coats of all sizes. Generous community members also made cash donations, which enabled the organizers to purchase new coats. The cash raised also enabled the Assistant Principal, Aly Erikson, to be able to purchase uniforms for children who were still wearing shorts to school or short sleeves during these winter months.
Local business leaders and businesses also got involved. Rhodes Properties immediately responded by purchasing jackets and uniforms for the children in need. Micah Foshee collected gloves, hats, uniforms and clothes. Carrie Beth Hough, Marketing Director and Vice President at BOM Bank, donated clothes. New Chamber President Laura Lyles and friends donated items. New jackets were purchased by Magnolia State Peace Officers and Tim Key, NPSO employee and Weaver Elementary Alum, who also responded to the needs. Reba Phelps donated jackets and uniforms as well.
Making this effort even more special was the fact that Tim Key, Reba Phelps and Laura Lyles are all M.R. Weaver Alum.
Within 24 hours the first delivery was made to school to meet the immediate needs of the children. So many jackets and clothing items were donated that a load was also dropped off at L.P. Vaughn and plans are being made to donate the larger sizes at East Natchitoches in the near future.
“Never underestimate the power that social media can have when it is used to help others. So many people were disturbed at the thought of children freezing and not having the basic items that so many of us take for granted,” said organizer Reba Phelps. “I hope this encourages others to give, even the smallest thing can make a huge impact.”
School officials were so appreciative of the gesture and were grateful for the community wide support.