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Senior Programs Receives Wellness Initiative Grant for Men’s Activities

OCCF Check PresentationOklahoma City, OK – The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma is pleased to announce it has received an $11,600 grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and its Wellness Initiative grant program. The grant will be used to assist in funding senior men’s activity programs, which will allow The Salvation Army to increase its level of service to men at their five senior centers.

“As we evaluated our activities at the senior centers, we discovered the men’s interest and participation was significantly lower than the women’s,” says Lisa Sydnor, senior programs manager. “We are so pleased to receive this grant as it will allow us to provide the activities our senior men have told us they want.”

The Wellness Initiative grant will fund wood and leather craft kits; sports equipment for pool, darts, indoor golf and horseshoes; fishing equipment; and, tickets to sporting events. By providing these activities, The Salvation Army strives to increase participation of both men and women in their senior programs.

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma operates five senior centers throughout the Oklahoma City metro. The centers are open every weekday to seniors ages 55 and older. Seniors have the opportunity to socialize, enjoy lunch and participate in numerous activities that include Bible study, exercise classes, crafts, dancing and much more.

Approximately 139,000 Oklahomans receive assistance from The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. For more information on the programs and services at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma, please visit www.salvationarmyokcac.org.

Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works with donors to create charitable funds that will benefit our community both now and in the future. For more information about the Oklahoma City Community foundation, visit www.occf.org.

Story of Hope: Betty

Betty Mullen_Website PhotoBetty moved into a facility that houses one of our senior centers 13 years ago and has been a part of The Salvation Army’s senior program ever since.

An admirer of The Salvation Army for many years, one of the services Betty is most thankful for is the daily meals provided at the center.

“I always thank the Lord, when I pray for [The Salvation Army] or for my meal, for the people that buy the food, the people that prepare the food, the people that deliver the food, and the people that serve the food. And, I thank the Lord for the coordinator that serves us here.”

Betty enjoys the activities at the center including all the entertainment, health instructors, and the educational speakers from the police and fire departments who help the seniors function in their everyday lives. One of her favorite activities to do at the center is play bingo. Unfortunately due to lack of funds for prizes, bingo is now only scheduled for one day a week which Betty was sad to hear.

But, you won’t hear Betty complain. Instead you’ll catch her leading the morning inspiration time, where the seniors come together every morning to share scripture and pray. “It’s a wonderful way to start your day,” Betty will tell you. Her infectiously kind spirit will uplift you even on your darkest of days.

Especially when she talks about the Angel Tree program.

“The Christmas gifts that we receive from Angel Tree are such a blessing. My family doesn’t exchange Christmas gifts because none of us can afford to put out extra money for things like that. So, the gifts I receive from Salvation Army are the only gifts I receive at Christmas. I appreciate that so much.”

Betty’s gifts last year included a sweater, bath towels, kitchen mitt and towel, and bed sheets. Thankful for all of it, Betty really treasures the new sweater she received.

“The new clothing I have is what I get at Christmas from Salvation Army. Otherwise, my clothes are hand-me-downs or from the thrift store so I really appreciate being able to have something new once in a while – which is maybe once a year.”

Because of your support of The Salvation Army, Betty’s story was made possible. If you would like to continue making a difference in the life of someone just like Betty, you can:

• Volunteer as an instructor at our senior centers teaching about any number of activity-based or educational classes.
• Provide prizes for bingo, board games and jigsaw puzzles for the seniors. Items can be dropped off at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.
• Click the Donate Now button above and financially support our senior programs.

Disaster Training Course: Food Service & Canteen Operations

Food Trucks On A MissionEDS-sm

Oklahoma City, OK (March 14, 2016) – During a disaster, the first gesture of comfort The Salvation Army offers is often a cold drink and a hot meal from one of its mobile feeding units (canteen). We invite you to join us at our next Emergency Disaster Services Training to learn how the canteens operate during times of disaster.

Participants who complete the course will learn about the different types of Salvation Army food service equipment, the essentials of building a food service team, canteen operations and maintenance, and the basics of menu planning. Anyone interested in food service delivery or serving on a Salvation Army canteen should take this course.

What: Disaster Food Service & Canteen Operations

When: Saturday, April 2

Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Where: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (RSVP for address)

For more information or to register for this training, please contact Kenny Kelly at 405-246-1066 or kenny.kelly@uss.salvationarmy.org.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. Nearly 139,000 Oklahomans receive assistance from The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 82 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyokcac.org. The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command is a proud partner agency of the United Way of Central Oklahoma.

National BGCA Week Club Kid Feature: NJ

Meet NJ

NJ - WebNajahahn, known to everyone as “NJ”, is no stranger to The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. He began attending the Club at five years old and found a place where he could have fun.

“I like that I get to come and play basketball in the gym, and make new friends.”

But now at 14, he has found a place where he can not only have fun but also pursue his passion.

Six years ago, staff member Josh Huling started a photography group in the Club with his personal camera equipment. The kids started off with disposable cameras and learned about the fundamentals of photography.

In 2012, NJ entered a photography competition and won. That was when photography became more than an interest. It quickly became a passion and most likely a career path.

Since winning that competition, NJ has won around $5,000 for photography equipment and classes. He will soon begin taking classes at Rose State or OCCC with his most recent competition win.

NJ has also been invited to The Salvation Army Youth Councils – a spiritual retreat for young people in The Salvation Army’s Arkansas and Oklahoma Division – to be a part of the communications team and take photos during the retreat.

Because of your support of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, young people just like NJ find what they are passionate about every day. If you would like to ensure more Great Futures are created at our club, get involved as a volunteer or donate now.

National BGCA Week Club Kid Feature: Mackenzie

Meet Mackenzie

Mackenzie - WebMackenzie is no stranger to The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. She’s attended the club for five years along with her brothers, one of which is a staff member.

Getting help with her homework by the staff and volunteers is one of her favorite things about the club.

“I like getting help with the things I need, like homework. I struggle with a lot in certain subjects and they help me with it.”

Mackenzie also had help from staff preparing for the Youth of the Year competition – Boys & Girls Club of America’s yearly recognition program that awards scholarships to Club members who exemplify the values of leadership, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles. As an eighth grader, she’s one of the youngest contestants vying to win scholarships for college.

While Mackenzie did not advance in the competition, she allowed herself to be pushed out of her comfort zone because she has a desire to go to college.

Because of your support of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, students like Mackenzie who want to attend college have a place where they are encouraged to achieve their goals. If you would like to ensure more Great Futures are created at our club, get involved as a volunteer or donate now.

National BGCA Week Club Kid Feature: Delmone

Meet Delmone

Delmone - WebTwo of Delmone’s favorite things about The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club are that he gets to make new friends and play basketball. It doesn’t take long to see why with his outgoing personality and positive attitude.

Since he began attending the club last year, Delmone has been introduced to baseball and dodgeball by the University of Central Oklahoma Baseball team. After playing baseball with a real team, Delmone now wants to try out for his school team.

Being a team player won’t be hard for him since Delmone has learned about it from his favorite club staff member, Mr. Lou.

“Mr. Lou taught me how to do good stuff and how to help people when they need help. And sportsmanship,” Delmone eagerly shared.

But the interest to excel does not just apply to sports. Delmone works hard on his schoolwork and takes advantage of the tutoring the staff and volunteers provide.

“I get help with my reading – because I don’t like reading – and science. I like science but I’m just not very good at it.”

He also likes social studies, math, history and geography. And, when Delmone grows up, he wants to be a firefighter just like his great-great-grandpa.

You can’t help but smile when he tells why he thinks the staff at the club are so great.

“What I like about the staff is they help me with my stuff, tell me where I’m supposed to be, keep me safe and I have responsibilities here.”

Because of your support of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, kids like Delmone have a positive, safe place to go after school. If you would like to ensure more Great Futures are created at our club, get involved as a volunteer or donate now.

National BGCA Week Club Kid Feature: Andria

Meet Andria

Andria - WebAndria has attended The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club for four years and loves it because it’s a “fun place.” Some of her favorite activities at the Club are playing basketball and football as well as talking with her friends. But her most favorite thing is attending camp during the summer because there is lots of swimming and free concessions.

Because she attends our club, Andria was introduced to Sunbeams – a program for girls similar to Girl Scouts – and has earned badges for completing different activities and attended a week of Sunbeams Camp last summer.

When she grows up, Andria wants to be a Pediatric Nurse since she isn’t afraid of blood unless it is her own.

Because of your support of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, kids like Andria have a positive, safe place to go after school. If you would like to ensure more Great Futures are created at our club, get involved as a volunteer or donate now.

Making a Difference: Ruth’s Volunteer Story

Ruth in PantryRuth and her husband first became acquainted with The Salvation Army through the Angel Tree program. For several years they adopted children off the tree, providing gifts for Christmas. Then they learned about the opportunity to help distribute the gifts to the families and fell in love.

“When we went to that first Angel Tree Distribution, it was really like, ‘they are doing things in the community. The Salvation Army is making a difference right here,’” Ruth recounted.

Ruth’s family has always been committed to service, striving to be the “boots on the ground” with their time and talents. Her husband served in the Air Force and Ruth would use her artistic abilities to organize events to bless the troops overseas.

With the recent troop drawdown, Ruth and her husband felt a call to serve their local community.

Her motto: “Just giving all the way around. Trying to live more generously and make a difference in people’s lives.”

And Ruth does just that. Going above and beyond her calling of being a “volunteer,” Ruth ministers to everyone she meets with her kindness.

“Even in traffic you can be kind. It’s just some small kindness every day that might make a difference in someone’s life. We don’t know what they’re going through or why they’re in a hurry. But if we open the door for them, or let them out in traffic, give them a smile and welcome them, it may make a big difference in their day.”

Ruth’s willingness to serve people shines through as she volunteers at The Salvation Army of Norman answering the phone, organizing the pantry, serving the evening meal and purchasing items the shelter guests need.

“The Salvation Army doesn’t care who you are or what’s going on in your life. They’re here to help you if they can,” Ruth shared. “That’s important because God called us to love in His name.”

Ruth’s heart of service doesn’t come from a need for attention or recognition, but from her love for God and His people.

“There are days I don’t feel like I do a lot around here but sometimes it’s just one kind word to somebody may be all that I was required to do that day. I keep saying that it’s not about me. It’s about God and His glory. I often pray that when I come here to remind myself it’s not about me. It’s about Him and His kingdom and making a difference. That’s important.”

For others thinking about volunteering, Ruth’s advice: “At least give it a try. You never know where it’ll lead.”

To join Ruth as a volunteer at The Salvation Army in Norman, call us today at 405-364-9910.

You’re Invited: The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary 29th Celebration of Hope

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Women’s Auxiliary is hosting the 29th Annual Celebration of Hope on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 with a silent auction beginning at 10 a.m. followed by a luncheon and program at 11:30 a.m. at Church of the Servant, 14343 N. MacArthur, Oklahoma City, OK 73142.

This year the event will focus on lives that have been transformed by The Salvation Army’s ministry with a personal testimony of one man’s redemptive journey from homelessness back to self-sufficiency. The event will also celebrate 10 years of the Women’s Auxiliary Buck$ 4 Bikes program which raises funds to provide bicycles to children who are on The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree at Christmas.

“Because of the generosity of this community we have the incredible opportunity to provide tools that allow individuals to better their lives,” said Major Charlotte Gargis, associate area commander for The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma. “We thank God for the privilege of providing hope, healing and restoration to those hurting in Central Oklahoma.”

The program will also feature ventriloquist Darci Farmer and KFOR NewsChannel 4 Anchor Marianne Rafferty as emcee.

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary is comprised of women who have dedicated their time and talents to help transform lives through The Salvation Army’s programs and services. The Celebration of Hope event began 29 years ago to raise funds to purchase Christmas gifts for Forgotten Angels, children on the Angel Tree who were not adopted, but has grown to help fund many more programs.

All funds raised through this year’s event will benefit the ongoing programs and services at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma including the shelter program, Client Choice Food Pantry, senior programs, summer camp sponsorships and The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club.

Tickets for the event are $45 and can be purchased by contacting Jill Walker at 405-627-1334. All reservations must be made by March 25, 2016.

Story of Hope: Terrance & Darla

Terrance, Darla & Leona

Terrance and Darla with Leona Chapman (right), director of social services for The Salvation Army in Norman.

Terrance and Darla met over 30 years ago at Terrance’s sister’s wedding. Originally from Arizona and North Carolina respectively, the two were married and eventually settled down in Norman.

In December 2014, a disagreement with their apartment’s management caused them, along with their son who had to drop out of college, to begin living in a motel. Terrance supported the family by driving for a trucking company but because of his age, he decided to leave and their funds soon ran out.

Terrance, Darla and their son visited The Salvation Army shelter in Oklahoma City and learned there were beds available in Norman. Once they were settled, they met with the director, Leona Chapman, to make a plan for getting back to self-sufficiency.

They were connected with a veteran’s services case worker who began helping them get a home. While they worked to get back on their feet, Terrance, Darla and their son did everything in their power to give back to The Salvation Army.

“Anything that could help out, we didn’t mind doing,” Terrance shared. “The Salvation Army gave us a roof over our head and food to eat, at least until we got back on our feet, we wanted to help and give back.”

That positive attitude allowed them to find a new place to live within three months. A new place that is better than before with hardwood floors, a large kitchen and dining room, and a fireplace.

Today, Darla has passed her certification to be a registered medical assistant and works for a doctor’s office, Terrance has a new job and their son is headed to Texas A&M in the fall after graduating with his Associate’s Degree in May.

Terrance and Darla know that because they asked for help, they are in a better place but it took them putting in hard work as well.

For others facing similar hardships, they offer this advice, “Swallow your pride. There are organizations willing to help you and all you have to do is ask. If you do your part, whatever they ask, they will bend over backwards to help you. The Salvation Army has done that for us.”