OKLAHOMA CITY - While lawmakers are still struggling to come up with a budget, a group of local businesses are taking it upon themselves to provide a bit of Christmas cheer to teachers across the state.
Budget cuts over the past several years have negatively impacted numerous state agencies, including the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
KFOR first told you about Teresa Dank in July.
Dank, a third grade teacher, made headlines across the country after she was forced to panhandle for school supplies. After spending roughly $2,500 of her own money on school supplies for her students, Dank turned to panhandling to make ends meet.
Now, dedicated teachers like Dank are getting a surprise from a few local businesses just in time for Christmas.
Huntington Fine Jewelers decided to create 'The CHEER Project' in an effort to give a special gift to educators across the state.
Personalized gift cards were given to about 4,000 teachers and staff at 500 public schools across the state. Each teacher received a $100 gift card to the jewelry store, a $25 gift card to Stone Sister Pizza and a $20 gift card to Urban Teahouse.
"We believe Oklahoma's future depends on teachers and staff. Feeling valued and appreciated is critical," said Lisa Smith, owner of Huntington Fine Jewelers. "The CHEER Project is our way to demonstrate just how much our teachers and school staff mean to us. We're also grateful for Stone Sisters Pizza and Urban Teahouse. Like us, they have a huge heart for teachers and we're grateful for their help to make a difference this Christmas."