Indiana third grader leading drive to help Okla. tornado victims

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When Leslie Phillips watched news coverage of the deadly tornado that hit an elementary school in Moore, Okla., she decided to talk to her daughter.

“I didn’t want her to go to school and hear about the kids that passed away from somebody else,” Phillips said.

Her daughter, 9-year-old Morgan Young, is in the same grade as the seven children who died in the school.

“I felt bad about them losing their family, their friends, teachers and possessions,” Young said.

Instead of just feeling bad, Young decided to do something.

“She just said, ‘Mom, they need food,’” Phillips told Fox 59.

After a short conversation, Young decided to start a canned food drive.

“Since it would be a long ride we don’t want anything to spoil,” she said.

She started with cans from family members and then told her principal at Clinton Central Elementary that she wanted to organize a food drive for her class.

“We got most of the vegetables first,” she said.

In just three days, she’s already passed her goal simply by spreading her message by word-of-mouth.

“I thought I would have about 200, but I have a lot more,” Young said.

Morgan just picked up her 400th can, and she’s been told there will be plenty more before the drive ends on Tuesday.

“It’s just awesome how everyone comes together,” Phillips said. “They’re not just bringing two cans, they’re bringing cases and sacks full of cans.”

The family knows they’ll need help transporting all that generosity. Midwest Food Bank has offered to include Morgan’s cans in the semis full of disaster relief supplies headed to storm victims.

“I felt good that I could help,” Young said. “It teaches me that I can be a part of something.”

“It’s amazing how proud I am that she came up with the idea on her own that they do need things and that she wanted them to have food,” Phillips said.

In fact, Morgan wants them to have even more food, which is why she has a message to anyone who will listen.

“I would like it if they would bring cans,” Young said. “So that we can help almost every single person in Oklahoma.”

Morgan is collecting cans at Phillips’ Greenhouse near Frankfort, but there are also other ways to get involved. To learn more about how you can give canned food or make a donation to Morgan’s effort, visit the food drive’s Facebook page.

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