By SHERRY DIGMON
Almost before the winds died down, relief efforts were under way for the victims of Friday’s storm in the Poarch community. Big Oak trailer park on Jack Springs Road was devastated with several mobile homes destroyed from straight line winds. At least six families with public school students were displaced – most of the students attending Huxford Elementary School.
Escambia County School superintendent Michele McClung, HES principal Leah Fuqua, and HES counselor Rebecca Murray immediately began identifying the students’ families and offering assistance. Ms. Fuqua opened the school to anyone who needed somewhere to go that morning.
HES lunchroom manager Susan Johnson and worker Michelle Tolbert began preparing meals with the aid of other school employees and volunteers who came to help. They prepared and delivered 200 meals to the mobile home park.
That day and in the days following, churches, restaurants, civic organizations and businesses stepped up. Poarch Creek Indians offered temporary housing at Holiday Inn Express.
The following is a Facebook post by Ms. Fuqua:
There has been an outpouring of love and support for the six Huxford families who lost their homes in the severe weather Friday morning. Many people have reached out to ask what to do to help.
An account has been set up at FNB&T in Atmore for monetary donations which will be utilized to purchase items for the students of the six families. These families have most of their children at Huxford School, but several of the families have siblings who attend Escambia County High School and Escambia Middle School. If a donor wishes for the money to be spent in a particular way, contact Ms. Fuqua via email email@example.com or via Facebook messenger.
Superintendent McClung, Deputy of Operations Shaun Goolsby and Atmore Maintenance Supervisor Bob Arrant have worked out a plan to open the old A.C. Moore School building for people who want to drop off donations. The drop-off dates are Tuesday, March 29, through Thursday, March 31, from 8 a.m. until noon.
“People who want to donate clothing and household items need to ensure they come during that time frame to ensure items are not left outdoors,” Ms. Fuqua posted. “We respectfully ask that all donated items be gently used or new items. We also respectfully ask no one donate any broken items or clothing that is not in excellent used condition. After we accept donations and work to get it ‘somewhat organized,’ the affected Escambia County schools families will be invited to come and get what they need.
“Thank you to all who have donated and / or collected items. Thank you to those who have reached out to see how to help. But most importantly, the families and children covet your continued prayers.”
Following are families’ needs.
Family 1 – mom, dad, kindergarten male
HES student male kindergartener – 6/7 shirts, 5T pants, size 11 youth shoes, undies (boxer briefs if available), socks, toiletries, toys
Mom – size 9.5 shoes, 14/15 pants, large shirt
Dad – size 12 shoes, 46/30 pants, 2XL shirt
Family 2 – mom, dad, male student, toddler
HES male 2nd grade student – size 14 shirt, size 14 pants, shoe size 6 or 7, undies, socks, PJs, toiletries, toys
Mom – size 10 shoes, 12-14 pants, large shirt
Dad – size 13 shoes, 38/32 pants, XL or 2 XL shirt
Toddler male – size 2T and size 6 shoes
Family 3 – mom and 5 children
HES 2nd grade male student – shoe size 5, pants size 10, shirt size 8
HES 3rd grade female student – size 4 shoes, pants size 10, shirts size 8
HES 4th grade female student – size 7 shoes, size 12 slim pants, size 12 shirts
ECMS 7th grade male student – size 13 shoes, pants size 42, 1X shirts
ECHS 9th grade female student – size 8 shoes, size 14 pants, small shirts
For all kids, undies, socks, PJs, toiletries and books. Also, toys for younger 3.
Mom – size 8 shoes, 13 pants, XL tops
Family 4 – mom, and female student
HES 2nd grade female student – shirts 7-8, size 10 pants, shoes size 2, undies, socks, PJs, toiletries, toys
Mom – no sizes available at this time
Family 5 – mom and female student
HES 3rd grade female student – shirt size 16 kids, pants size 16 kids, shoe size 5 kids, undies, socks, PJs, toiletries, toys
Mom – size 18 pants, 3X shirts, size 11 shoes (Mom indicates with her job, she wears comfy clothes – t-shirts and comfy bottoms)
Family 6 – mom and 3 boys
HES kindergarten male student size 11 youth shoes, size 7 pants, youth small shirts
ECMS 5th grade male student – size 8 shoes, size 18 pants, medium shirt
3-year-old sibling – 4T/5T with size 11 shoes, undies, socks, PJs, toiletries, books for all kids and toys for younger 2.
Mom (suffered a great deal of injuries) – size 10 shoes, 14/16 plants, medium tops