Fundraiser Helps Teachers Pay For Gas During Walkout
OKLAHOMA CITY - As the teachers fight for more education funding, many of them are feeling the effects of the walkout in their wallets. Traveling to and from the state Capitol is getting expensive for those who live outside the metro area, but the community is helping ease the burden.
Last week, Stillwater Junior High School teacher Alberto Morejon launched a GoFundMe page aiming to buy gas for teachers attending the walkout. He has already raised more than $22,000.
Teachers lined up long after Tuesday’s stack of gas cards was gone. They are putting themselves on the list in hopes that Morejon can raise enough money to buy more.
“The first time I was able to put $50 on it,” Morejon said of the first distribution last week. “This time I was able to put $25, so the more money it gets and the quicker it gets into my account, the more gas cards I can buy and the more I can put on them.”
Morejon has given away 400 gas gift cards in the five days since he started the fundraiser. He has encountered teachers who have traveled from as far away as Guymon to let their voices be heard. Morejon says he is most focused on “teachers that are driving here every single day, that aren’t staying in hotels. We’re talking about Ada and Ardmore. Teachers are driving two and a half hours every day, five hours there and back every day.”
One of the teachers who has been driving multiple hours each way, each day, is Ronessa Warren; a first grade teacher from the Tahlequah area.
“It seems like it gets shorter every day, but it’s a lot closer for us to drive to school. We’d rather be in school,” Warren said.
Filling up her tank during the walkout has used up more than $200 she has been saving for vacation.
“Not an extravagant vacation,” she said, “but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for our future.”
Morejon is nearing the halfway point of reaching his $50,000 goal. He hopes to help many more teachers who need it, and he is encouraged by the help that has already poured in.
“There are some people on there that have donated $500. I think that just shows how much they support what we’re doing,” said Morejon.
Morejon plans to distribute the next round of gas cards on Thursday.