Kristal Armendariz of SHC Las Cruces brings us up to speed in this two part blog on our involvement in the recent Moore, OK Tornado disaster.
My daughter Butterfly is a catcher for Cruces Pride, local fast pitch softball team. She was scheduled to play in a softball tournament in Oklahoma City at the end of May. For the last two months we have planned activities and saved to make this a family vacation to remember. That all changed after watching CNN on May 20th. Tornados devastated huge sections of Oklahoma. Moore, the community most affected, is just a few miles from the softball complex where she was scheduled to play.
I started researching charities and organizations in the Oklahoma City area and fell in love with the philosophy of the Center for Children and Families, Inc. Not only do they help kids, they encourage kids to help other kids! Since we were going to OKC for a youth event, it made sense to choose an organization that supports and appreciates the very real contributions that children can make to our communities.
I told Chrisann Karches, President of Southwest Hazard Control, that we would be going to Oklahoma and before long, the team was springing into action. Soon, we had a 27 foot SHC trailer to fill with supplies for the affected areas. I was incredibly grateful, but also nervous. We now had a 27 foot long trailer to fill and only a week to do it.
As soon as the softball team heard about our plans, they jumped on board 100%. We planned a donation drive for Saturday, May 25 at a local Wal-Mart in conjunction with a bake sale organized by team parents. Mike and the guys made a giant 4’x6’ card for the community to sign. That way, even people who were unable to donate could participate by sending their well wishes. The outpouring of support for this cause was overwhelming.
Before we even made it out to Wal-Mart, individuals and businesses started giving. Our SHC employees were amazing. The guys in the office gave clothing, baby food and over 30 cases of water for the cause. Each day I came in to work I would find another case of water or bag of food in the office, waiting to be loaded in the trailer.
My fears about being able to get enough donations were unfounded and by the end of our fundraiser the trailer was almost full. The bake sale was also a success. We raised $775, which we used to purchase $25 gift cards to Wal-Mart for CCFI to distribute to families in need.
With a full load of donations and the support of our community behind us, we were ready to start our journey to Oklahoma City. Our goal was to do as much as we could to help those in need. Little did we know how profoundly this trip would touch our own lives.