Rogers County Businesses Give Generous Donation To Light Of Hope Program
CATOOSA, Oklahoma - Five years ago, 23-year-old Ashley Freeman died from a drug overdose.
Ashley's mom had tried everything to get her daughter help and has now taken her pain and turned it into a purpose. She created an organization that gives addicts and their families the kind of help she never had and today, she was surprised with some very generous donations.
Layla Freeman thought her husband was bringing her to Catoosa's Wal-Mart for some last minute shopping. She had no idea she was actually going to receive donations to her organization called Light of Hope.
"These people back here have really done a lot," said Store Manager Jason Krunck
Wal-Mart employees volunteered 300 hours for Light of Hope and the company pays them for that, which was a check for $3,000. Arvest joined the partnership by presenting a $500 check and then, Wal-Mart employees held fundraisers to add even more.
"The last 30 days of giving, we have raised, the community has raised an additional $3,400," said Krunck.
This money will support Light of Hope's mission to present an eight-week course to students about drug, suicide and bullying awareness. The course costs $1.79 per student and they hope to reach every student in Rogers County to start.
"It's critical. These kids are faced with something we were never faced with in the past. They have to have the tools and ways they can work through it," said Freeman.
Layla knows all too well that issues, especially addiction, can and does affect so many families. She tried for years to help her daughter Ashley who started using pills, then moved to cocaine and heroin. She was at a loss to find help and resources and that's why she now provides that for others.
"We can't hide behind a mask and pretend it's not happening. We need to be there for each other and open doors and walk people through," said Freeman.
She says this donation is especially meaningful since it was made on the fifth anniversary of her daughter spending Christmas in heaven.
Light of Hope will be holding a free, safe, sober, family friendly, New Year's Eve at the Claremore Conference Center from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. with games, prizes and a DJ.