Bank officials extend hand to aid local children in need

By Carolyn Cole/Staff Writer

Local businessmen are putting their money forward to make sure needy Mustang children are clothed this winter.

Gary Huckabay and his family have opened an account at their All America Bank to benefit Mustang School District children needing clothes. He said his family thought it would be a good way to help families facing tough financial times and also build children’s self esteem.

“We want it to be a pleasant experience for a student,” he said. “We want to encourage them to help themselves. We hope by helping them dress well, it will make them more independent.”

Mustang School District personnel would help identify children in need that could benefit. Huckabay said he doesn’t believe the fund could cover an entire wardrobe for a child, but could provide a few needed items new.

“We’ve got the bones of this idea,” he said. “We know how it will be shaped. We don’t have every detail — we have the basic plan in place. There is probably always somebody who needs help in every school district.”

The fund would be another resource for the community, Huckabay said, in addition to the Mustang PTA’s Clothes Closet, which provides donated clothes to children and families.

Charm Kelly, Clothes Closet chair, said the community’s need is steady. Usually the Clothes Closet helps one or two families a week, she said, but some weeks there are families coming every day. The closet has helped families coping with hard financial times, emergencies and disasters, she said.

“We live in such a delightful community, and we are so blessed,” Kelly said. “There is no reason a child shouldn’t go to school with a jacket and a hat.”

She added the community’s donations were almost overwhelming, but now most of the items are sorted by size and type. The Clothes Closet needs volunteers to help work at the facility and allow the group to have regular office hours.

“We desperately need volunteers to man the closet one day a month for three hours — it’s not an extensive commitment,” Kelly said. “So we can post hours of operation and people can come and go as needed.”

Her goal is to recruit at least nine volunteers to help out at the facility, so she could notify schools and community organizations of office hours so needy families can select clothing.

“We have so many donations … It’s just crazy for it to sit there and not be used,” Kelly said.

The Huckabays’ project will help give children something new, in addition to the clothes they can receive through Clothes Closet.

“It’s an experimental type thing,” he said. “We hope it works — we hope the cost of it will be reasonable enough that we can fund it.”

The Huckabays aren’t seeking help or support in their project, but Gary Huckabay said they wouldn’t turn down donations to help children. To help, ask for Gary Huckabay at All America Bank at 376-2265.

To volunteer at the Clothes Closet or to offer a donation call Charm Kelly at 376- 0984.

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