The Moore Home Builders Association purchased clothing, hats, socks, jackets, sweat shirts and socks for 133 students at Dimensions Academy in Norman, then delivered those Christmas bags of cheer on Wednesday with the help of the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. Pictured from left to right are: Marvin Haworth, Deputy Phillip Garbriel, Deputy Rafael Hernandez, Sheila Haworth, Deputy Chazdon Anderson, Dimensions Principal Linda Mace, Timmy Smith, Karen Ewing, Sheriff Todd Gibson and Capt. Mike Finley.
-An assortment of clothing and hand-sewn blankets filled Christmas bags of cheer that were delivered Wednesday to 133 alternative education students in Norman.
The project was a joint effort of the Moore Home Builders Association, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and The Linus Project, which is a ladies’ quilting group that meets at Moore’s First Christian Church one Saturday each month.
“Every year we try to do something that helps our youth,” said Sheila Haworth, executive officer for the home builders association. “It’s like Sheriff (Todd) Gibson was saying, ‘This is a really important project because if we can’t keep these kids in school they won’t have a future.’”
Students were delighted, excited and almost beyond belief when county deputies delivered the gift bags to Dimensions Academy earlier this week. Dimensions Academy is the alternative education program for Norman Public Schools.
“They (students) looked like they had blank stares on their faces,” Haworth said. “Some of them were like, ‘that’s all for us?’”
The students wrapped the hand-sewn blankets around their bodies and “kept them on the rest of the day,” she said. “It really got their morale up.”
Linus Project spokeswoman Sharene Anderson said her group became involved in the school project because “there was a need.”
“That’s our mission — to provide for children in need and especially the homeless and abused children,” she said. “This is our drive. It’s our life.”
Depending on their schedules, the quilters spend anywhere from “every waking moment to a few hours a month and everywhere in between” on their blankets that are donated to variety of causes.
The quilters gave 140 double-sided, fleece quilts to The Dimensions Academy project, Anderson said. The Linus Project was founded in 1995 and serves Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Logan, McClain and Oklahoma counties.
The home builders association, through its $3,500 monetary donation and two other contributions, spent about $4,500 on clothes, hats, socks, jackets, sweatshirts and socks for the 133 students. Haworth and retired teacher Karen Ewing shopped from February until November purchasing the clothing items at any store that offered discounts, including some in Texas.
During one shopping spree, the women loaded a buggy with 120 fleeced jackets at a Norman Old Navy store. The jackets originally sold for $29 each, but the women only paid $8 per jacket.
Prior to that, Haworth and Ewing made a trip to an Allen, Texas, shopping outlet where stores were having going-out-of-business sales. During the trip, they spent about $700 for clothes, including some from name brand store Lou LaRue.
The donations also helped the women purchase enough clothes to establish a clothing pantry at the school for future needs.
-Tim Farley of Norman Transcript
Article by Norman Transcript