University of Arkansas at Little Rock

How you can help Oklahoma tornado victims

Moore tornado

Our housing director will head to her alma mater, OU, on Sunday to help those affected by the tornado and is asking the campus to get involved in her efforts.

The devastating tornado that hit Oklahoma on Monday, May 20, was especially hard for Leanna Payton, the West Hall Director for Student Housing who attended grad school at OU. Leanna shares her thoughts on the tornado and asks the campus community to help those in need.

I woke up the morning after the tornado and felt an overwhelming sadness because it was so close to where I went to graduate school at The University of Oklahoma. Then I began looking on Facebook and texting with my friends still there and seeing that the OU Housing and Food Department were working so hard to help displaced families. I was just there two years ago working for their department while in school, and I know I would be there working around the clock with them now if I was still working for them!

The University of Oklahoma and Norman did a lot for me and being there was a life-changing experience and I want to give back. I want them to know they have friends at UALR, a neighboring institution. If something happened here we would want other universities and housing departments to help us, as well.

So on Sunday, I will head to Oklahoma to help with relief efforts.

OU housing

Our good friends in the Housing Department at OU have opened their residence halls and dining facilities on campus to shelter and feed displaced families who lost their homes in the tornado. I worked for that department and I’ll be helping them this weekend, as I am familiar with the area.

My plan was to just get help from within Student Housing and then Dean Debbie Gentry suggested the entire campus community could help and the idea has just grown from there.

I am hoping to fill my Suburban with donations from the UALR campus community that I can deliver on Sunday. Please help if you can.

My housing colleagues at OU have said gift cards (Walmart, Target, Visa gift cards, etc.) are especially needed right now. They have tons of stuff and need ways to go buy more.

However, the other critical items are the following:

-Baby Bottles
-Toiletries (shampoo, deodorant, tooth brushes & tooth paste) Hotel left-overs would be great.
-Cell phone chargers (iPhone, Android, etc.)
-Dog and cat food
-Small toys for children and older kids (Barbies, hot wheels, coloring books, hand-held electronics, board games, etc.)
-New flip flops
-New under garments
-Laundry detergent

I’m sure small notes of encouragement would be appreciated too, so feel free to attach one to your donation.

If you can help, please bring your items to the Student Housing Office in University Commons between 8 a.m. Wednesday and noon Friday. You can also take your items to the front desk of the DSC fitness center by noon Friday.

If you can’t bring your donation, myself and some student volunteers will come to your office between 1 and 2 p.m. Friday and pick it up.

Thank you in advance to everyone at UALR for being a part of this and helping our friends in Oklahoma and at OU. I know the Moore survivors have lost everything, so anything and everything you can give to them will help!

Please email me at for questions or further information. Thank you all for your consideration in helping our neighbors!

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