An Edmond woman has connected with thousands of people on social media, all dedicated to helping Oklahoma teachers.
Last year's budget crisis prompted Brenda Lene to create a Facebook page where teachers could come together and post the supplies they need.
“I kind of did it on a whim, just to see if I could get a couple of local teachers help,” said Lene.
Those couple of teachers quickly turned into more than she expected.
“Immediately people were stepping up to donate school supplies to these teachers within the first 24 hours of me starting the group,” she said. “It was amazing.”
Lene started the Facebook page Oklahoma Education Needs/Donations to connect teachers and donors.
Teachers post what they need and then donor's ship or deliver the items to their school. It's all done voluntarily.
“Some people just need pencils for testing season. A lot of people are doing alternative seating. Here's a request for bean bag chairs,” she said, showing News 9 one post after another.
Laura Conrad is a third grade teacher at Greenvale Elementary School and has received help eight times.
“It has helped immensely,” Conrad said. “I've gotten headphones, I’ve gotten notebooks, and I’ve gotten glue.”
Sometimes, the donors are teachers themselves.
“I've given myself,” said Conrad. “A box of books to a middle school, I’ve given pencils or erasers that I have extras of, it's just little things but they've really made a big difference to that teacher and they've made a big difference to me.”
After almost a year online, Lene’s page now has more than 17,000 members and has helped more than 500 Oklahoma teachers.
“I know we've had people donate from Alaska, from Oregon, from Florida,” said Lene. “I never imagined it would be what it has turned out to be, not in a million years. I'm really proud, it's really awesome.”
The Facebook page is a closed group and you must be approved to become a member. Lene does not profit from the page and there is no guarantee your request will be filled.
Along with the Facebook page, Lene also matched 130 teachers to specific donors this month that will help them finish out the school year.
If you would like to become a member, go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/238573549823053/.