[Photo: Ed Megill of Copperheads LEMC Sandhills, Kirk Leach of Raeford Hoke Mini Storage, and Leach’s grandkids Aaleyah Oxendine, Alexis Lester, Ella Lane and Landen Oxendine supported the drive. (Submitted photo)]
By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • As summer vacation draws to a close for Hoke County students, Jessica Leach Oxendine’s house is stuffed with backpacks, bottles of hand sanitizer, paper and pencils.
“Really it looks like a Walmart threw up in my living room,” she joked.
Oxendine said her family happened to see an opportunity to do some good when they came across a sale on backpacks. Her children wanted to help other kids start the new school year off right. They quickly snapped up the backpacks.
“We bought just about every one they had,” she said.
That was just the start. The family business, Raeford-Hoke Mini Storage, hosted a school supply drive to collect more items. The Copperheads Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club Sandhills Chapter jumped in to help.
With supporters from across Hoke County and beyond, the giveaway organizers were able to stuff dozens of backpacks full of school supplies for students. They also worked on putting together boxes of classroom necessities for teachers.
Donations came from many Sandhills businesses, including Miller’s Automotive, Farm Bureau, Raeford Hardware, Papas Place, Carolina Peddlers, Donovan Properties and more. Individual donations were also abundant, with just a few of the donors who got a shout-out on Raeford Hoke Mini Storage’s Facebook page including Jammy Nickelson, Lynn Bailey, Brooke Kiser, Tiffany Smith, Ashley McLaughlin, Donna Graham and family.
Oxendine said she wasn’t expecting so much support for the school supply drive. Even customers at Great Clips in Aberdeen, where she works, gave money to help buy backpacks and supplies.
The family put together about 50 backpacks and has already given away a number of them to local kids. They were also able to give away eight boxes of classroom supplies to teachers. A ninth box was reserved as a prize for a beginning teacher during new teacher orientation this week at Hoke County Schools.
Oxendine said they still have supplies they’re organizing to give away.
“I think we’re going to end up doing more,” she said.
To support the giveaway, drop off donations at Raeford Hoke Mini Storage at 645 West Prospect Avenue in Raeford, or send monetary donations to Carrie Leach by CashApp at $ScentsywCarrie.