Students from Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore return to school on Friday after a deadly tornado ripped through their school in May and killed seven classmates.
Tricia Henderson wants them to attend that first day united wearing matching t-shirts.
"They have a lot going on that first day," Henderson, owner of Two Olives Café in Moore said. "There is going to be some remembrance and some talk about the tornado and counselors on site for counseling for the children that need it. So, we just thought the t-shirts would add a positive to the day."
The SOS (Shelter Oklahoma Schools) Hope Raiser shirt created for the Plaza students are burnt red with a life preserver screened on the front with a panther paw print in the center, to reflect the school's mascot. On the back, the shirt honors the seven students killed inside Plaza Towers, as they took shelter from the tornado.
However, the 250 t-shirts are on hold because Henderson said she lost the sponsor. Now, she's hoping to gather donations from the community to help pay for the shirts at cost for the students and teachers at Plaza Towers to wear on Friday. She needs $4,000.
"Wouldn't it be great for publicity and great for the children too, if they all had a shirt on the first day of school to wear?" Henderson asked rhetorically.
The publicity is for the SOS fund itself. Shelter Oklahoma Schools is a non-profit organization created by John Hunt, a local attorney in Norman. It was created to raise money to be used to build storm shelters in and around every Oklahoma school. According to Hunt on the organization's website, it would cost upwards of $1 billion to put shelters in and around all of Oklahoma's schools. So far, $2 million have been raised.
As far as the shirts, there are three designs for sale with a portion of the profits going into the SOS fund. The shirts can be purchased online. Henderson said many parents affected by the tornado are helping to spread the word.
"These parents got involved in the Shelter Oklahoma Schools project and raising money for that fund which I think is tremendous," she said. "It gives them a reason to move on and something to strive for."
If you would like to help sponsor the t-shirts for Plaza Elementary, contact Tricia Henderson at (405) 417-1783.