Little hands helping smaller hands — Oklahoma infants will benefit from items being donated this week by students at an Edmond school.
Elementary-high school students at Oklahoma Christian Academy, 1101 E. Ninth St., learned about its annual fundraiser beneficiary, the “Open Your Hearts to Newborns in Need” statewide baby shower.
The school is helping the Oklahoma Department of Human services and the University of Phoenix in the effort to collect baby items and financial donations to feed and clothe infants, said OCA elementary and middle school Principal Mary Ann Kelsey.
OCA parent April Francis has three children enrolled at the school, and told Kelsey about the baby shower for needy infants.
Kelsey, OCA computer teacher-special events coordinator Becky Campbell, OCA history teacher-athletic director Robert Gregg, Karen Jacobs, Oklahoma Department of Human Services volunteer coordinator, and University of Phoenix Oklahoma City campus Director Troy Thomas energized the students during Monday morning’s kickoff assembly.
Kelsey told students, faculty and staff Matthew 25:40 sums up the effort: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Each year, about 40,000 babies are born in Oklahoma, and an estimated 20,000-25,000 of those are born into poverty, Jacobs said.
Seemingly insignificant items, like five diapers given to a mother, can have a profoundly positive effect on recipients, Jacobs said. When the mother received the diapers, her son was outside. Due to a variety of issues, she was unable to support her family at the time.
“She was just in tears because we brought her a couple of packages of diapers,” Jacobs said. “She said ‘That’s my youngest son, and that’s the last diaper that he has.’”
Jacobs said there are no public funds available to buy most of these goods for newborns in poverty. She said the early years of a child’s life are so vital, and items specifically for newborn care can help provide the healthy start all children deserve.
Needed items include disposable diapers, booties, bibs, hooded bath towels, washcloths, shirts, bottles, baby powder, receiving blankets, pacifiers, bouncy seats, coats and hats.
The items collected by OCA will be distributed statewide through DHS county offices, which are familiar with local needs, Jacobs said. They help infants, some of whom have been removed from homes where drugs were present.
“I challenge each and every one of you to talk to your parents and see how many you can bring this week because it really does go to a good cause,” Thomas said.
He urged students to talk to their teachers and guidance counselors about continuing their education in college, a way to combat poverty.
“It doesn’t matter where you go to school; it just matters that you do go to school,” Thomas said.
Campbell and Gregg told students about a faculty challenge in which a home-cooked meal is at stake.
If you would like to donate items for the statewide baby shower through Oklahoma Christian Academy, call Kelsey at 348-3108. Items will be collected at the school this week, culminating with a baby shower from 1-2:30 p.m. Friday at the school.
The first DHS-University of Phoenix baby shower was in 2004.
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