CONWAY, Ark. — A Conway teacher is going above and beyond to help schools affected by the California fires. She is trying to get everything they need so when they return to school they can have a somewhat normal experience.
Shari McGehee started helping the fire victims in November by collecting backpacks and donations. Now, she wants to do more and is hoping to get the whole state involved with her mission.
“My son lives in California, and although he’s not directly affected by the wildfires he and I would discuss it. I knew as a teacher the one way that I could impact students was to do donations of some kind,” McGeHee said.
After asking for donations on Facebook, Shari McGeHee collected 90 backpacks and 200 mesh athletic packs and sent them to California students who lost their homes and schools in the Camp Fire.
“My goal was to ship them out and have them in the student's hands Jan. 7 when they got back to school at their new locations; they would at least have a backpack and supplies,” McGeHee said.
Several Conway in businesses served as drop off locations for the backpack drive. McGeHee hopes that many will continue to help with this effort.
“There are three teachers that I’ve been in contact with in California that have started a web page, Facebook page, that they have linked directly with donors.org and Amazon and you can actually adopt a classroom,” McGeHee said.
To help, click here, where you can offer to purchase things like grade level books or simply buy something on a teacher’s Amazon wish list.
“I can’t imagine as a teacher going back to school this year and not having the things that I’ve collected over the last 30 years,” McGeHee said.
Some community members are already on board after hearing about the project.
“Our Christmas party, our focus would be gathering donations for the wildfire victims,” Christine Lin said.
The Lin family collected $200 at their annual Christmas party, and her children and their friends wrote special messages to send to California fire victims.
“'Praying for you. You’re strong and you can get through this’. Just to let kids know ‘hey there are kids here in Conway, Arkansas routing for you,’” Lin said.