Displaced students get special shopping spree

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Though it's almost Halloween, Monday felt more like Christmas for some local students.

Some students at Lewis and Clark Middle School were displaced from their homes after the city shut down the Yale Park apartment complex last month.

"When we heard about the children who were displaced form the apartments, we knew that this was something that we really needed to be involved with," Suzanne Hinman, the team leader of Operation School Bell said.

With the help from The Assistance League's Operation School Bell, the students had the chance to shop for new winter clothes.

Their teachers, Emilio and Molly, helped them pick items.

More than $40,000 was raised in a matter of days, so each child had a gift card to purchase what they needed.

"Everything they've been through has been crazy and it's amazing that our school, our principal, our secretaries, our teachers, the city of Omaha, everybody came together to give these kids hope. Hope that there's going to be a better tomorrow and it's gonna be okay," teacher Molly Mertz said.

Now, the kids are set with jackets, hats and boots in time for a Nebraska winter.

"By us doing this, they know they're not alone. That there's a community here in Omaha and that we are ready to help them," paraprofessional Emilio Sottlo said.

Christmas may still be a ways away, but the students got to experience some early joy. And they'll be nice and warm when the actual holiday rolls around.