CHICKASHA — With storm season upon us, supportokschools.com is taking donations for Oklahoma schools to use for construction of safe rooms.
For schools with adequate protection, the donations will go to general classroom funds.
Justin Williams, a parent of children in Mustang Trails and Blanchard Elementary schools, started the website, where Oklahomans can post items they want to sell and donate a percentage of the sale to the school of their choice.
Williams said he began developing the website after being part of a Verizon Wireless disaster relief group in the wake of the Moore tornado last year.
"As a parent, when the weather gets crazy, I just go pick my children up because I have a storm cellar at home," WIlliams said. "I should feel safe that they have a place to go at school."
He said he will be contacting 1,795 schools throughout the state to see whether they need money for a safe room fund or general classroom funds for other necessary classroom supplies.
For schools that wish to receive money for safe rooms, the money will go to shelteroklahomaschools.org. Schools apply for a grant from Shelter Oklahoma Schools and receive a percentage as construction of the safe rooms progress after the school submits a building plan.
Chickasha Public Schools Director of Business Operations Dwight Yokum said his district is concerned about having safe rooms in schools and plans to consider adding additional safe rooms to the Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center and Grand Avenue Elementary School during the next bond issue.
"It would be wonderful to have the resources for safe rooms," Yokum said. "We're not soliciting donations as a district."
Williams said he's used garage sale groups on Facebook and noticed a problem with people not showing up to purchase the items they expressed interest in, so his website allows people to pay up front with PayPal.
He said people can also list their items through supportokschools.org and paste it to local Facebook garage sale groups.
Those interested can keep track of how much money is raised for particular schools at supportokschools.com/money.