When Savannah Neff went on her coach's Facebook page and read of the grief and concern being poured out from someone she respected and appreciated, she knew something had to be done to help. The Coahoma High School sophomore came up with an idea. After talking with Coach Mitzi Bell to get permission, the Bulldogette basketball player and her teammates are organizing a donation drive to help the families whose lives have been uprooted by the current fires in Bastrop.
The Bastrop fire, destroying well over 25,000 acres of land and over 500 homes, is being called the worst fire in Texas' history. According to the Texas Forest Service, it has destroyed more than all of the other Texas fires combined this year.
Coach Bell coached and taught in Bastrop for years and knows many people affected by this fire. When her players saw her concern for friends and families, they knew they had to do something.
“It is so refreshing,” Coach Bell said. “All too often, we see kids with their hand out, wanting something, but these girls are reaching their hands out to help.”
It is not the first time, the group has pulled together to help others. Last month, the team completed a drive to help Howard County residents affected by recent fires. Before that, it was their Adopt an Angel program, where the girls collected money and bought Christmas presents for Coahoma youngsters. So when Neff came to Coach bell, asking if it would be alright to do something for the people in Bastrop, the coach was not surprised.
“It has become their nature, to care about other people,” Coach Bell said of the girls in Coahoma's basketball program. “I have always believed my job was not to build better basketball players, but better people. And these are some great girls.”
The Bulldogettes will be in the Bealls parking lot at the Big Spring Mall Saturday, Sept. 17 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. accepting donations.
Aaron Custer, Coahoma ISD's Ag teacher has volunteered to drive the items to Bastrop where they will be given to the local Red Cross volunteers.
Coach Bell said it would be impossible to transport large items, due to space. Items suggest for donation include: shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, razors, socks, under garments, diapers, cases of water and clothes.
Coach Bell said gift cards for Wal-Mart and HEB would be really appreciated.
“The cards would be very easy to transport,” she said. “Plus, the people would be able to purchase exactly what they needed.”