Francis Tuttle students collect clothes to help families for Christmas

Marketing and entrepreneurship students at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center have created a clothing drive to provide clothing to families in need this Christmas season.

“We knew we wanted to do something that would help the community,” said Mia Oates of Edmond Memorial High School.

Students came up with the acronym HUGS

“That means hats, underwear, gloves and socks,” said Destiny Ngigi, of Deer Creek High School.

From the acronym, HUGS for the Heart was created.

“We thought it would be something really nice to give back to communities, especially in the coming winter months when a lot of people will need winter clothes,” Oates said.

The students then came up with a marketing campaign that started with their own schools and spread to other schools and businesses and included other elements.

“We received a lot of jeans; we received a lot of pants. We received over 100 coats, which we are very proud of,” Oates said.

With over 200 pairs of socks and nearly 100 pairs of jeans and shirts, the students were very excited about their efforts. Now they had to decide where to give them.

“We knew we wanted a nonprofit organization that would be more community-based. We wanted to see where our donations were going,” Oates said.

“They go to Sharing Tree, which is a non-profit organization, all of whose donations go to families and individuals in need,” said Makayla Worley, a student at Putnam City West High School.

After visiting Sharing Tree, the ladies knew it was the perfect place for their donations.

“Sharing Tree exists to provide people in need with a dignified and free shopping experience,” said Lizzy Bozarth of Sharing Tree.

“We’re set up like a department store with slightly used and new clothing, shoes, household items, and at Christmas we supply brand new toys,” Bozarth said.

Christmas is extremely busy for Sharing Tree.

“We just served 120 families and we still have 240 families who need to drop by and shop with us before Christmas is here,” Bozarth said.

Although they receive a lot of donations, the children’s items are quite special.

“It’s crazy. It’s amazing that they want to get involved so young, and I hope that spirit of generosity will follow them throughout their lives,” Bozarth said.

Bozarth said the youth donations are really needed because many of their donations are for adults.

The project helped the students to develop their organizational and leadership skills. Although they all admit it was hard work, the thought of helping families in need was worth it.

Elizabeth J. Harless