Chandler Woman Aims To Help Colorado Wildfire Victims
CHANDLER, Oklahoma - More than 350 homes have burned to the ground in the Colorado wildfires, leaving many of those families with just the clothes on their backs. But now one woman here in Chandler, Oklahoma is doing what she can to help with one of their immediate needs.
She may be just one woman, but Casandra Birdsong is taking the necessary steps to help our neighbors to the west. She's rented a storage unit and hopes to fill it full of clothes. She's also created a Facebook page called Clothes for Colorado to get the message out.
"I am reaching out on Facebook, by text message, phone calls," said Birdsong. "I've even got an ad in the Lincoln County paper this week."
Casandra says last year, she lost her job and people rallied around to help her and her special needs daughter. She says this is her chance to give back.
"I want to pay it forward and help others in need," said Birdsong. "And all these people in Colorado have lost everything they own. This way they have some stuff to start over with their life."
This year ranks as the most destructive year for wildfires in Colorado's history, with damage estimates in the $100-million range. And though Casandra doesn't have any personal connection to Colorado, she was still compelled to help.
"I just have been watching it on the news and this one woman just really touched me," said Birdsong. "Her story of all the stuff that she lost, they showed a before and after and I was like ‘Wow!'"
Now, Casandra hopes some of these clothes will help many of those families start over.
"This is the best reward I could get," said Birdsong. "Knowing I've made an impact on somebody's life and let them know that there are people who care!"
Casandra will be collecting clothing donations for the next two weeks. She says she will drive the clothes to Colorado herself if she has to do that. But she is hoping some group or church will help transport all the clothing donations.
The Banc First in Stroud and a couple of the local banks in Chandler have also offered to be drop-off points for the Clothes for Colorado clothing drive. You can also help by donating money to the Red Cross. Though they don't collect clothing, they do make sure the money you give is spent to help the families in need.
"What we see a lot of times is when a disaster hits, that local economy is also impacted," said Jake Peters, Regional Development Officer for the OKC Red Cross Chapter. "But by giving us cash donations, we are able to buy those supplies we need, the exact quantity, the exact things that we are looking for to help those families in need."
You can call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or text "Red Cross" to 90999.