Fort Gibson educators are collecting games, books and other items to help younger students get through storms.

Early Learning Center and Intermediate Elementary Librarian Rene' Cherry said she is putting together activity boxes for the safe room, where students go during severe storms. The library and adjoining classrooms, located inside the multipurpose building connecting IES with ELC, serve as the safe room.

Cherry is gathering items appropriate for each grade from kindergarten through fifth-grade. She said she seeks board games, card games, crayons and "anything that doesn't require batteries and that doesn't require a lot of space."

"We put it on our school Facebook page. That's as far as we've gone," Cherry said. "We don't have a whole lot yet." 

Cherry said Early Learning Center Principal Shelly Holderby brought up the idea.

Holderby said she would hope students would not be in the shelter for a long period of time. However, she said she wants to be prepared.

"To try to keep 1,000 students entertained, if we had to stay in there for a long period of time, it would be nice to have activities for them to do," she said. "If something was to happen to our buildings and we were not able to go back and we were waiting for parents to pick up kids, we might keep them here.

"Some people donated, but we also bought a lot of games, a lot of board games and children's games," she said. "She's also collecting a lot of books. That way, if we're all in there for an extended period of time, we'll have activities for the kids to do."

Holderby said Assistant Superintendent Tom Stiles has been "the front-runner in getting all our emergency evacuations, practice drills.

"It came up in my mind it would be a good idea to have them (the kits) there in case of emergencies," she said.

She said that, although the library serves as the safe room, "I'm sure Mrs. Cherry doesn't want all her books pulled off the shelves."

"It would be nice to have tubs to pull out at each grade level," Holderby said. "What a kindergartner looks at is different than what a fifth-grader looks at, so anything that would be age-appropriate for kindergarten through fifth grade would be welcome."

You can help

• Bring children's board games, card games, books and coloring sets to Early Learning Center or Intermediate Elementary School.

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