Oologah Daycare Center Raising Funds For Storm Shelter

Friday, September 20th 2013, 6:20 pm
By: Craig Day

Since Oklahoma's deadly Spring tornado outbreak, schools across the state are taking another look at storm shelters.

Schools can go after grants or bond money to pay for them, but daycare centers are pretty much on their own.

So a daycare in Oologah is raising money to build one.

All of the kids at "All Aboard the Learning Train," a daycare in Oologah, are more concerned about being princesses and super heroes.

Severe weather is the last thing on their minds.

But since the devastating Moore tornado, their safety has been on the mind of parent Kathy McLaughlin.

"It's a fear that I think every parent goes through when you know you're trying to get to your child and there's something that could potentially hurt them," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin and other parents want a storm shelter for the daycare and the peace of mind that would come along with it.

But federal grants to pay for one won't work.

"We don't qualify because it's a privately-owned daycare," McLaughlin said.

They're raising money to pay for one with chili dinners, a raffle for a shotgun and a garage sale, with the goal of raising money for a 12 x 15 above-ground shelter.

It would be large enough to protect all the kids and staff.

"Every little bit counts," McLaughlin said. "We add it up, $5 at a time, and sooner or later, we'll get there.

The goal is to raise $5,000. The storm shelter company will cover the rest of the cost.

They've raised about $1,500 so far.

It means a lot to daycare owner Pam Richey.

"You grow attached to the kids, and you love all the kids, and you just want to do what's best for them," Pam Richey said.

The way McLaughlin sees it, where there is a will, there's a way.

She's confident they'll raise the money and that her daughter and the other children, along with kids going to the daycare for years to come, will be protected.

"It's such a peace of mind to know that not only my child, but all the other children have a place to go," she said.

The storm shelter yard sale will be Friday, Sept. 27 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sept. 28 from 7 a.m.-noon. It will be held at the daycare center on Pine Street in Oologah.