United Way "Pirates of the Caring Being"

Lawton_United Way had its own version of "The Pirates of the Caribbean" Friday - "The Pirates of the Caring Being".  Dozens of volunteers showed up at the J. Roy Dunning Children's Shelter - a shelter for abused, neglected or abandoned children.

It's the only emergency shelter in Oklahoma where infants and children up to 12 years old are all welcome.  But, the kids have outgrown the shelter.  So, architect Charlie Wright along with community volunteers offered their skills to build more storage space.  7News was able to tag along with Public Service of Oklahoma & Goodyear while they worked on the project.

"It makes me feel good.  Especially when you get this many people to come help," said Wright. But, despite the good feelings, he can't ignore the reason behind the shelter's need for help.  He says that despite his happiness to help, it's a sad experience to see young children who have been treated so badly.

Shelter Executive Director Tommy Youmans echoes that sentiment.  "We would love to go out of business, here," he said.  "But, it's not going to happen."  He says the shelter houses about 900 children per year and the numbers keep growing.  "It's an unwanted necessity.  We wish there was no abuse at all...wish the kids could be happy," Youmans said.

The new storage shed that Wright and his volunteers are building will give the growing number of children at the shelter some much needed space.  Initially the shelter had included the cost for building the storage shed into their budget - to build a smaller shed, but this one was donated and twice the size of the original plan.

This project made the volunteers feel good, too; knowing they could help in this way.  Each crew brought with them a special talent.  Whether it was a job skill or a hobby, they were happy to volunteer for such a good cause.  The group was still working at the J. Roy Dunning Children's Shelter after 7News talked to them.  They plan to have the 36 x 16 foot storage shelter finished in one day.  In fact, they hoped to have it finished by sundown.

The United Way's campaign is in its second week and has a few more weeks left to reach its goal of $1.75 million.  And, they're almost half way there.  If you would like to donate, call their office at 580-355-0218.

Tune in to 7News @ 5&6 for more.