COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Sisters collect items to help local needy

Sarah Cookson and Brooklynn Colburn raised money and baby items for a local mother. With the excess, they plan to give out baskets to community members.

Sarah Cookson and Brooklyn Colburn are sisters who were taught at an early age to serve. Over the years, their kindness has blessed the community.

Recently, they used their ability to organize to bless a local Cherokee County mother. Brooklyn learned about a woman in the community who had just delivered a baby, but she lacked many of the essential items necessary to welcome home a child, and Brooklyn knew she wanted to do something about it.

She and Sarah organized a baby drive on their Facebook pages, and community members quickly responded.

Throughout their lives, they have followed the example of their late grandmother, Glenda McCollum, a former Tahlequah school teacher and member of Oklahoma Home and Community Education Apron's and Lace group. McCollum was known for cooking meals for the homeless, donating blankets to nursing homes, and giving supplies to various organizations in the community.

"We just made a post." said Sarah. "Suddenly, my porch was full of diapers, bassinets, wipes, and everything you need for a baby. This situation proved how good our little community is to help people in need."

They raised seven hundred dollars, and they also received item donations. They went out on a shopping spree for the woman.

Between the items purchased and the items donated, they were able to give over 200 diapers in different sizes, a bassinet, a play pen, a changing table, a swing, clothes from newborn to 12 months, nursery items, a personalized diaper bag, Tylenol, Motrin, a baby bath, towels, a baby book, milk bags, a gift for mom, and more.

With the money left over, they placed it on a Visa gift card and gave it to the mom for gas or grocery money.

"There is a stigma about asking for help. Many people are embarrassed, feel ashamed, or even guilty having to ask for help. We want to do our part in creating a culture and community where it is OK to ask for help, as well as supply the resources to meet the needs of those who need it," said Brooklynn.

Both Brooklynn and Sarah were baffled at the generosity in the community. They believe these acts reflect the values in Tahlequah.

"There are kind people in the world, and it is a blessing that we could be a part of this. We're just glad that this mother will get to go home with everything she and her baby are going to need. She said that she had never had a baby shower before, so this was a way that she could have that burden taken away. We wanted her to know our children are brought into a village," said Sarah.

To these sisters, this kind of service is second nature. Their mother was a home economics teacher who taught them how to cook, sew, and organize events. As youth, they actively participated in the Briggs 4-H program, which taught them work ethic.

Sarah has helped to open up Kroner and Baer and The Lift, and is now a stay-at-home mother. Brooklynn is an evidence-based intervention specialist at Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health Services. In their free time, they find opportunities to help others.

"Service is something that brings us joy that we can turn around and give that much stuff in town. We are very fortunate," said Sarah.

What's next

They received an excessive amount of baby items that they were not capable of giving away. With the rest of the supplies, they are making baby baskets for those in need and can be reached at bncookson@icloud.com.

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