The Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation, in conjunction with Oklahoma Farm Bureau, announced today a $100,000 donation to help install storm shelters in Oklahoma schools. Rep. Mark McBride and Rep. Jon Echols accepted the donation on behalf of Shelter Oklahoma Schools, an Oklahoma charity established to build storm shelters in schools in the aftermath of the devastating May 2013 tornadoes in central Oklahoma.
“The foundation commends Shelter Oklahoma Schools for developing a private sector solution to install storm shelters in our schools around the state,” said Jeramy Rich, president of the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation. “Keeping our schools and communities safe is so critical, and we are honored to be able to assist in the effort.”
The donation was made possible by farmers and ranchers from across the state and country who generously donated to a tornado relief fund established by the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation.
“The level of support we have received from fellow Oklahomans and from across the country has been extremely humbling,” Rich said. “The farmers and ranchers who made these contributions have suffered their own natural disasters at some point, and it says a lot that they stepped up to assist in our state’s time of need.”
Friend Public Schools is the first recipient of funds from the donation. The school, located about four miles northeast of Chickasha, will receive $25,000 to help with the cost of installing a storm shelter. Students at Friend Schools have raised more than $25,000 on their own this past year, and Superintendent Alton Rawlins said the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation donation through Shelter Oklahoma School allows the district to begin work on the shelter immediately.
“We were waiting to reach the $50,000 mark in our fundraising efforts to begin construction on the shelter,” Rawlins said. “This donation means we can move forward with our plans and hopefully complete the project before storm season next spring.”
The Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation was established to improve lives of rural Oklahomans through education and outreach. The severe storms are a reminder of how important it is to help others when tragedy strikes.