Hurricane Irma left plenty of devastation in its wake. But one mom is helping kids heal in an important way—by allowing them to enjoy a beloved holiday.

By Zara Husaini Hanawalt
October 12, 2017

Krystal Langley was lucky. Though Hurricane Irma was supposed to hit her town, the storm actually left her community untouched. But the same can’t be said for Marathon, the town where she grew up.

Langley knew she needed to do something to help...especially since she had a large collection of supplies she thought she’d need to weather the hurricane.

“I started collecting supplies in my garage from my community,” Langley, who founded a relief effort, told “My thoughts were ‘hey, everybody has these leftover hurricane supplies they’re not using, I could send them. That’s kind of how it all started.”

But Langley didn’t stop there. As a mom and teacher, Langley had an unusual perspective on what kids experienced in the wake of the hurricane. She knew they’d crave normalcy, and she understood that the kids affected by the disaster still deserved something to celebrate


“I know that things like holidays are really what kids live for. They count down days till Halloween, till Thanksgiving, till Christmas,” she said. “As a teacher, I know that if my kids were not able to celebrate, or did not have costumes, or could not look forward to trick-or-treating, that would greatly impact how they felt. The children down there are already feeling out of sorts because they were out of school for so long, a lot of them are displaced. I just feel like their worlds feel so upside down. They need something to look forward to.”

So Langley decided to collect Halloween supplies for the children….and her mission became a resounding success.

Langley posted a call on her Facebook page requesting anyone with extra costumes to donate them. Soon after, her garage was full of costumes and candy from people all over.

“It’s amazing to see how many people from everywhere have reached out and wanted to help,” Langley, who has rounded up a team of others to help with relief efforts, said. “The response has been overwhelming and wonderful. We will continue to [help] until the need has been met.”

“I would like people to know although the costumes and the candy are so very important—and as a teacher, my focus was there—the need for help is greater than what people are seeing,” she added. “It goes from one tragedy to the other and unfortunately, we’ve had so many tragedies right in a row that the media just moves on to the next. The people in those tragedies are still trying to pick up the pieces. So although people are not seeing it anymore, it’s still very much there.”