It may have happened 400 miles away, but the series of tornadoes that devastated several cities outside of Oklahoma City—namely Moore and Shawnee—has hit home for a group of agriculture science teachers at Magnolia High School.
Buddy Smith, along with Brandi Taylor and Charles Wellmann, are organizing a "Stuff the Trailer" fundraiser to help collect supplies for FFA organizations that saw their work areas wiped out. The plan is to gather as much as they can in a 28-foot metal trailer, and hit the road next week to deliver the goods to their contacts in Shawnee.
"A lot of the relief efforts have concentrated on Moore, but a bad tornado hit Shawnee the day before," Smith said. "It's a more rural area, and they lost a lot of fencing, animal supplies and things like that."
Smith has recruited the help of Magnolia FFA students in spreading awareness and collecting donations for the trip. Drivers who pass by Magnolia High School this week will notice the trailer out front with a sign asking for donations.
"Fencing material is a big need right now," Smith said. "We're also trying to gather water buckets, feed buckets, shovels and rakes."
Smith, who has arranged to meet up with agriculture science teachers in Shawnee, said he plans to leave next week, most likely on either Monday or Tuesday. The goal is to leave with the trailer completely filled with supplies.
"I personally don't have any relatives there, but the more I talk to people, the more I learn that people around here have relatives that live around there," Smith said. "It was just feeling the need to help. It was one of those things that hit and me and I thought it'd be a good idea to get the kids involved."
The Magnolia High School agriculture department can be contacted at 281-356-3572 (ext. 7062). Donations are being gathered at the Magnolia Agriculture Shop at Magnolia High School. A full list of what FFA groups in Shawnee are most in need of includes the following:
Fencing material (barbed wire, field fence, small wooden post, T-post & clips, wire panels)
Bottled water and Gatorade
Water & feed buckets
Small bags of dog/cat food
Work gloves and T-shirts (new)
Large trash bags