Durant charity helps parents with school supplies

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DURANT, OK -- A local charity is helping parents with one of the busiest shopping times of the year - back to school season.

Families Feeding Families gave out backpacks full of school supplies to more than 500 kids Thursday.

Dianna Hastings described the supply drive as a blessing.

"I have a list of stuff this long of stuff I have to go out and buy. I don't have the money for that," she said. "I have to buy new school shoes and clothes and socks and underwear and all that. I don't have money for school supplies."

She joined more than 100 families who waited in the heat to get backpacks filled with back-to-school goodies - all of which are donated by the Durant community.

Tish Burkhalter, founded of Families Feeding Families, started the supply drive 10 years ago after realizing how expensive it was to buy supplies for her own kids.

"It adds up. And we're gonna have families that can't do it," she said. "We're kinda working together to get as many kids as we can helped. Get them ready for school."

She says it's grown tremendously the past decade.

"Last year we gave away about 2,200 backpacks," she said.

Today they gave away 500 backpacks in just the first few hours, she said.

And it's difficult to tell who's more excited - the kids or the parents.

"Oh it helps out a lot, stuff's so expensive these days it's ridiculous," said David Haislip, parent.

Though Burkhalter said they can fill the backpacks for around $18 thanks to stores sympathetic to their cause, she estimates that it costs the average family about $60 per kid for supplies.

"It helps out financially. People just don't have jobs anymore. Not the income to do anything," Haislip said.

Burkhalter said any family that missed Thursday's drive can come by the Hope Chest in Durant during normal business hours. They'll be giving away the backpacks until school starts.

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