Shawnee Mom Asking For Donations To Honor Oklahoma's Veterans

Tuesday, October 20th 2020, 5:33 pm
By: Karl Torp

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -

What started as a school project two years ago has turned into a statewide campaign to show veterans how much they are appreciated.

But a lot has changed in the past year, and veteran gift bag donations haven’t been coming in during the pandemic.

Shawnee mom, Jessie Newell, is behind the holiday veteran gift bags which was started by her daughter at school in 2018.

In 2019, Newell was able to provide every veteran in the state’s seven VA living centers with a bag containing shirts, blankets, slippers, toiletries and a homemade card of appreciation.

"It’s not what’s in the bags, it’s a reminder that Oklahoma still loves and cares for them,” said Newell.

Last year, Newell’s campaign reached all over the state. Elementary school students made cards and older students had donation challenges.

Approximately 2,200 bags were put together and distributed.

This year, only seven bags have been donated.

Newell is making one final plea for donations. She plans to do the shopping and delivery as many holiday bags as possible.

You can make a donation at any BancFirst location under the account Newell Family Charitable Foundation Christmas Bags for Veterans.

“There guys have given us everything and as Oklahomans we need to come together and make sure they are remembered,” said Newell.