Norman man finds cause to embrace

Johnnie Mitchell, of the Norman Veterans Center, helps with annual diaper drive.
BY SARA WILSON Published: January 5, 2013
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— Sometimes a helping hand can come from a most unlikely source. Norman Veterans Center resident Johnnie Mitchell would be the first to agree.

Three years ago, Mitchell, who was using a wheelchair and was heavily depressed, couldn't find motivation to do much of anything.

It wasn't until a social worker suggested he take on a small community project that the lights came on. Mitchell, who has five grandchildren, chose to host a diaper drive for the Center for Children & Families in Norman.

The rest, as they say, is history.

With the help of friends, family and fellow veterans, Mitchell's first diaper drive brought in hundreds of diapers and wipes to supply CCFI's baby pantry. Three years and more than 6,000 diapers later, Mitchell's event has become an annual affair.

CCFI, a nonprofit agency, offers the free diapers and wipes and formula to families in the community who are having trouble making ends meet.

Mitchell's donations will fulfill a few weeks of the daily demand for diapers.

“Each year, CCFI's baby pantry provides 40,000 diapers, thousands of wipes and hundreds of cans of formula to families in need,” said Executive Director Katie Fitzgerald.

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To learn more

For more information about the Center for Children & Families in Norman, go to www.ccfinorman.org, or call 364-1420 to get involved.

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