MORRISTOWN - Angela Wines of Angela Wines Photography is looking to channel the giving spirit of the residents of the Ohio Valley in an effort to help out their American brothers and sisters devastated by the tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma earlier this week.
Wines announced Tuesday that she was collecting items to be sent out as care packages to the families.
Suggested items include non-perishable food items, toiletries, stuffed animals and any other items that may help bring comfort to those during this amazingly difficult time and during the days, weeks and months ahead.
By Wednesday evening, Wines was shipping out four large boxes full of items. There's been plenty more since.
Wines is taking donations through the end of June to ship to Oklahoma.
While compelled to help in general, Wines felt a special pull to do her part to lend a hand because of a budding friendship she's formed with Newcastle, Okla. native Kylie Morgan.
Morgan, 17, is an up-and-coming country music artist who has performed more than a few times locally.
Recently, Morgan performed at five area schools - Union Local, Bridgeport, Martins Ferry, Bellaire and Shadyside - back in May as part of anti-bullying programs.
She is a peer spokesperson for PACER.org's National Bullying Prevention Center.
Morgan talks about her experiences with bullying, sings a few of her songs and shows a video that talks about teenager Phoebe Prince, who took her own life in 2009 as a direct result of bullying.
Morgan states on her website that, "We wrote this song in honor of Phoebe. When I found out an estimated 160,000 children miss school every day because they are bullied, I wanted to do something to make a difference. I started my own bullying prevention awareness campaign."
This wasn't Morgan's first trip through the Ohio Valley.
"I'm good friends with Kylie and I've done all her photo shoots when she's in the area," Wines said. "I know her mom and I've met her manager through her record company.
"I met (Kylie) last October when she came to perform, and we instantly clicked. So I thought, why not try to help out."
Morgan does so much for others that Wines thought it only proper to return the favor.
Morgan's hometown was one of the ones hit hard by the storms. Like so many others in the path of destruction, Morgan and her family's home was totaled.
"They were alerted about 10 minutes before the tornado hit so they ran into their safe house," Wines said. "Their house was completely demolished. Her car was demolished. Her mom's car ... they literally had the clothes on their back."
Wines said she's been working with Wrangler Jeans, a boot company and other companies she's versed with to help Morgan be able to outfit herself to be able to perform.
Morgan and her family will function as the distribution point on the ground in Newcastle for the items Wines' drive collects. As they know the area and who is most in need better than anyone, Wines stated that "the packages are going to Kylie and her family, and they will disperse it from there."
The St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce is assisting in the donation drive, acting as a dropoff point for items that will then be given to Wines for shipping.
Wines also noted that several businesses that are members of the chamber have donated items as well to the cause.
Donations can be dropped off at 205 Main St. in Morristown. If you are unable to make it to Morristown, the St. Clairsville Chamber of Commerce at 133 E. Main St. will be happy to take your donations and make sure they get to Wines.
For more information or to make donations, contact Wines at (740) 359-5697, email her at email@example.com or stop by her Facebook page by searching for Angela Wines Photography.