AUGUST 2020: Getting essential clothing items for the start of a new school year can be a challenge for some families. With that thought in mind, an anonymous donation has been made to Brighter Futures in Wagoner to help three families make the purchases they need.
On Wednesday and Thursday, organization volunteers took nine children shopping at Wagoner Walmart for everything from pants and tops to socks and shoes. They were accompanied by officers with the Wagoner Police Department and Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office.
“Our donor gave us a lump sum, and we asked parents to make a list of what their children needed. The focus was on back-to-school clothing and headphones to use with distance learning,” explained Brighter Futures representative Dr. Suzanne Salichs. “Our budget was $250 per family.”
Dr. Salichs said the donors specifically asked that law enforcement officers be involved with the project to help foster good will with the public servants.
“We were happy to arrange that. We are all about partnerships and building relationships,” she commented. “Wagoner Police officers Tyler McFarland and Raquel Reed were fantastic! They both have children so they could relate to the shopping. They really took their time.”
WCSO Major Dustin Dorr, K9 Deputy Matt Lott and Undersheriff Todd Riggs accompanied them on Thursday.
“It’s always a heartwarming feeling to give back to the community and be involved in what the kids are doing. They are our future. They’re going to replace us someday in the jobs we have,” Major Dorr said. “Just to be involved in that is a great feeling – to see the smiles on their faces and interact with them.”
Dr. Salichs said earlier in the week, the youngsters received backpacks and school supplies thanks to Brighter Futures’ partnership with the Wagoner Elks Lodge. They have also been given items through the Love Closet at the First United Methodist Church.
“It is so important that we help these children, especially this year whether it’s a new pair of shoes, an outfit or socks,” Dr. Salichs noted. “The youngest one today, a pre-k student, actually thought of his father and wanted to get his father some shoes. We love to see that when they think of others before themselves.”
Following their trip to Walmart, participating children enjoyed a sweet treat at Braums where they reportedly had good conversation with the officers.