Backpacks for grandparents raising grandchildren

OKLAHOMA CITY - Beverly Dow just celebrated a birthday.

“I just turned 56,” she said.

56 and raising her eight biological grandchildren.

That's eight very different personalities under one roof.

“We have 6 boys, 2 girls,” she said. “The girls are more challenging than the boys.”

The Dows are one of hundreds of "grandfamilies" in our area doing the best they can with what they have.

Many of these grandparents are raising babies for the second or third time on a fixed income.

“It's what you have on your back and in your belly and over your head that counts,” Beverly said.

And knowing how to receive help from people who truly care.

 Oklahoma County Sheriff's TRIAD Coordinator, Corporal Kim Lopez, says almost 20 years ago law enforcement noticed these grandparents were sacrificing their own well-being.

“We noticed seniors were doing without medications,” she said. “They were doing without hearing aid batteries.”

So they hatched a plan to take some of the burden off the grandparents, eventually teaming up with Sunbeam Family Services right before the start of the new school year and with the help of local seniors they've been stuffing backpacks with love and school supplies ever since.

“This one is third through fifth and it literally has everything they need, crayons, pencils, rulers, notebook paper,” Deputy Lopez said.

OCPD Captain Bobby Tompkins telling the In Your Corner team his favorite part is seeing how much these kids light up when they see their backpack for the first time.

“It's filled with school supplies and items they really need, the excitement you see in their faces is something we enjoy as a police department,” he said.

Thursday the backpacks got filled up and so did these families.

Grandparents and grandkids will full hearts and big smiles, gifted with some school time essentials and a rare opportunity to let loose and break it down with police officers and deputies, brave men and women who jumped at the chance to connect with in this community for an afternoon.

The Oklahoma City Triad Group helps educate and protect seniors from crime.

For more information contact coordinator Sheryl Presley at 405-316-4336.