Boxes of Love

Chiara Ogle, back, and Morgan Benton this year again are helping children who were victims of severe weather. The duo is spearheading the “Boxes of Love” project that will provide supplies and other items to youngsters affected by the recent Moore, Okla., tornadoes. Two years ago, the girls did the same thing for youths involved in the Joplin tornado.

For a second time, a pair of St. Clair youngsters are on a mission to help youths affected by a recent natural disaster.

Fifteen-year-old St. Clair High School sophomore Chiara Ogle and 7-year-old Morgan Benton are spearheading a local community service project to help children who were victims of the Moore, Okla., tornado that ripped through that city in late May.

Two years ago, the duo teamed to help young victims of the Joplin tornado that devastated that Missouri city.

The May 20 Moore tornado, ranked an EF5, the most powerful, cut a 22-mile swath through the Oklahoma City suburb. Twenty-four people were killed and hundreds more were either injured or left without homes.

On May 31, another round of severe weather hit central Oklahoma, and an additional nine individuals died when three additional twisters spun through the area. One of those tornadoes hit Moore.

To help children in the area, Ogle and Benton again are putting together “Boxes of Love” that will be delivered to the Moore area in August.

“Two years ago Chiara and Morgan spent a weekend in Joplin making a difference,” said Ogle’s mother, Dana Messex-Collins. “Prior to that they encouraged others to help in the community service project for the children who became victims of the devastating tornado that struck there, and they succeeded.

“Once again Chiara recruited her little sidekick, Morgan, to make a difference in the lives of children recently devastated in Moore.”

The two girls again are collecting the Boxes of Love and plan to deliver them to children in Moore on Aug. 2.

Individuals are encouraged to gather various new staple supplies as well as some other items, place them in a shoe or some other box and donate them to either a boy or girl in the Moore area.

“Some ideas that people can place in the shoeboxes are items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, crayons and coloring books, small toys, snacks, games and movies,” Messex-Collins said. “The other thing the girls are encouraging is filling up backpacks with supplies since this will be around the time school will be starting again.”

Messex-Collins said food items should not include chocolate or nuts because of allergies.

She also suggested area churches who sponsor Vacation Bible Schools over the summer can help out through special congregation drives.

“The girls encourage everyone to assist in this project,” she said.

Ogle and Benton, who both are area pageant contestants and winners, will collect the Boxes of Love, which should be marked “boy” or “girl” and include the name and address of the individual who donates it in case the children who receive the items want to write a letter of thanks to those who contributed.

For more information or to make arrangements for box pickups, contact Ogle at or at 636-629-7614. Messex-Collins may be contacted at 636-584-9650.