The football season may be over, but the most important drive has just begun for the Edwardsville Little Tigers.
The youth football program is collecting donations after seven children lost their mother and possibly their father in two tragic events on Thursday.
Six children escaped a burning home in Glen Carbon before dawn, and a seventh child, an infant, was pulled from an SUV submerged in Silver Lake by a Highland paramedic.
Although details from the events are still unfolding, the Edwardsville community is coming together to support the children.
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“We take our commitment to the kids very seriously,” said Eddie Lowry, president of the Little Tigers. The program is more than about football, he said. It’s about trying to instill good values like sportsmanship and build a better community.
The five oldest of the seven children, aged 3 months to 14 years, participated in the program.
The drive, for clothing, toys and financial donations, will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday at the Tiger Country Building behind the Edwardsville High School.
Although the Little Tigers program has worked with other children in bad situations, Friday’s event is the first of its kind for the group, Lowry said.
“The response has been overwhelming,” he said.
As of Friday morning, Lowry didn’t know how much money had been collected, but he said he gets an email every time someone donates, and his inbox was “overflowing.”
“It’s a natural thing for us to just help those who are in our program,” he said. The program is hoping to start a college fund for the children.
In addition to toys and financial donations, the Little Tigers are also accepting clothing:
- Boy: age 14 - shoes (size 9), pants (size 14-16/YXL), shirts (size 14-16/YXL)
- Boy: age 13 - shoes (size 7 1/2), pants (size 12-14/YL), shirts (size 12-14, YL)
- Girl: age 11 - shoes (size 5), pants (size 10-12), shirts (10-12)
- Boy: age 8 - shoes (size 2), pants (size 8/YM), shirts (size 8/YM)
- Girl: age 7 - shoes (size Y13), pants (size 6-7), shirts (size 6-7)
- Boy: age 4 - shoe (size Y10), pants (size 5T), shirts (5T)
- Boy: age 3 months (size 3-6 months)