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Following Her Passions: Kathy’s Volunteer Story

DSC_1447Kathy Rhodes first read about The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in 2014 and decided to volunteer. It was a simple decision that has made a lasting impact on her life the last two years.

“I thought the idea of ministering to so many families was wonderful because it had such a widespread impact. But once I got involved with the Women’s Auxiliary and The Salvation Army, it made more sense than any religious organization I had ever been with,” Kathy shared.

“The fact that as lay-citizens we can reach out, offer a meal and a warm, safe place to sleep and also offer Jesus, it just makes such good sense. I have really been impassioned with it.”

After volunteering that first day at the Angel Tree distribution center, Kathy was invited to a Women’s Auxiliary meeting by a member, Sharon. There, Kathy learned more about this organization she had heard about through the years and decided to join.

“I believe that ever since I was a child I’ve looked for ways to minister to others. Throughout the years I’ve gotten involved with various organizations but not to the degree I have here. I’m fortunate to be in a place in my career where I can devote more time to others.”

Kathy is devoting that time to the best of her ability. As the newly appointed president of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Women’s Auxiliary, she’s using her lifelong passion to inspire others to work alongside her for our community.

“I really didn’t know the scope of the everyday services. There’s just so much to learn. That’s why in the Women’s Auxiliary I’m trying to urge every member to try everything out until each finds their niche.”

Kathy has found her niche in the social service programs – ministering directly to people in the community who are hurting the most.

“I haven’t worked in the pantry very much but I’ve been terribly moved by the people. These people are not lazy. These are people who work, or want to work, but through illness or family circumstances, they find themselves needing help. And for any of us, this could happen.”

Even though Kathy didn’t know anyone in the Women’s Auxiliary, it thankfully didn’t stop her from coming to that first meeting and getting involved.

“When I started I didn’t know anyone. I couldn’t even remember Sharon’s name. But as you get involved, the more names you’ll learn and the more people you’ll get to know.”

If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer with The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Women’s Auxiliary, contact Major Charlotte Gargis at charlotte.gargis@uss.salvationarmy.org or 405-246-1113.

Laughing, Kathy added that you don’t have to worry about knowing anyone’s name because at the meetings, “Everyone wears a nametag!”

Settled In: Raymond’s Story of Hope

Raymond-websiteRaymond retired in 1975 and dabbled in other businesses until he decided to settle down in Oklahoma City. In 2006, he decided to try out The Salvation Army Senior Center in Warr Acres.

“It was just some place to go. I didn’t know anybody or know what they did. So I just settled in and have been coming back ever since.”

What kept Raymond coming back for ten years were the people he met at the center. Mingling with other seniors, playing dominoes and attending field trips has created a community for him. It’s kept him active along with a 30 mile bicycle ride every day.

A proud WWII veteran, Raymond has plenty of advice to share. What’s his advice for those curious about The Salvation Army’s senior centers? “Come and try it”.

If you are able to stop by our Warr Acres Senior Center, don’t miss your chance to meet him and ask his advice. Though, you won’t get all of his secrets.

Because of your support, our senior centers are there for Raymond and seniors just like him. If you would like to support our senior programs, 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.

Women’s Auxiliary Raising Funds to Purchase Bicycles for Needy Children at Christmas

The 2016 Buck$ 4 Bikes Program Goal is 1,275 Bicycles

(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK) – You may be thinking about firecrackers, but there is a group of “elves” thinking about Christmas.

Beginning July 1, the Women’s Auxiliary of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command will distribute 82 countertop Red Kettles to area businesses to collect donations for the Buck$ 4 Bikes program.

Over a thousand children ages 14 and under, who may otherwise receive no gift at all, dream of a bike for Christmas. Children signed up for The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program were consistently asking for a new bicycle yet their requests were being unfulfilled.

The Buck$ 4 Bikes program was founded in 2006 to help fulfill the requests of these children. In 2015, 1,880 children wished for a bike and 1,224 received one thanks to donated funds to the program.

The 2016 Buck$ 4 Bikes program goal is 1,275 bikes for needy boys and girls. Every penny donated to this cause will go to the purchase of a new Huffy bicycle with prices ranging from $33 to $49.

Sparklers in July are temporary. Sparkles in a child’s eyes on Christmas last forever. Help us make every child’s wish come true.

To donate funds to purchase a bike, visit one of these area businesses across the Metro during the month of July.

Advance Chiropractic
Arvest Bank
BancFirst (5 locations only)
Bandana Reds
Beauty Mark Salon
Cuppies & Joe
Del Rancho (Midwest City)
Fellers-Snider Law office
First National Banks
Greenway Plaza Tag Agency
H & H Gun Range
Homeland (NW 122nd & Rockwell)
Huntington Jewelers
InvesTrust
Jasco
JGVE Engineering
J’s Hallmark locations
Liberty Mutual
Maccini Construction
North OKC Rotary Club
Napoleon Deli
Old Dominion Freight Lines
Pace Butler Corporation
Platinum Beauty Salon
Price Edwards
Quail Creek Bank
RCB Banks
Speller Oil Company
State Beauty Supply
Swiss Cleaners
TBS Factoring Service
The Blue Bean Coffee Shop
The Buzz Coffee Shop
Tilted Tulip Boutique
Tinker Tag Agency
Veritiv

Donations can also be made by mailing a check to:

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary
Attn: Major Charlotte Gargis
1001 N. Pennsylvania
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
Memo: Buck$ 4 Bikes

Letting God Lead – Ryan Frace’s Volunteer Story

Ryan Frace- facebookRyan Frace was first introduced to The Salvation Army because his son was invited to help serve dinner in the Red Shield Diner with his cousins. After that night, Ryan’s son couldn’t stop talking about the experience and they looked forward to the next opportunity to serve.

Flash forward a few months and the opportunity opened for Ryan to join the advisory board. “I was honored to serve in any capacity,” Ryan shared.

“I gave my life to Christ three years ago and there’s always been that discussion of how I can serve. Whether it’s a mission trip or maybe a local opportunity – often you don’t know where to go. I believe The Salvation Army literally fills that gap inside you that’s wondering how to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Not only has his willingness to serve impacted him personally, but the impact has spread to his family, friends and neighbors. It has opened an outlet for him and those around him to give back.

Ryan's son, right, helps another volunteer tie his apron.

Ryan’s son (right) helps another volunteer.

“They’re using your resources in a way that makes you proud as a Christian to say, ‘They’re really impacting lives’ – regardless if those they’re serving believe Jesus is the Son of God or not. I love that because eventually they will realize why people like The Salvation Army act so selflessly. It’s because they love others.”

One of the biggest impacts it’s made on Ryan: it’s made him grateful. Grateful for those basics – food, shelter, clothing – that so many take for granted. When he’s downtown for a Thunder game or dinner, the knowledge that individuals are living under the bridge just three blocks away is a constant reminder to be grateful.

“The need is always around. Whether we choose to look for it or see it is a whole other thing. The mission is right down the street. There are so many different avenues to help with your time and efforts. It’s motivating to know that it’s just up to you.”

The adventure that Ryan has experienced is greater than anything entertainment can give and it’s even better for him because he knows his time is making an impact on others.

Three years ago you probably would not have found Ryan serving others, but with God leading him the possibilities are endless.

“Christ will change you as much as you let Him.”

If you would like to serve your community like Ryan, contact us at 405-246-1107 or visit our volunteer page for our current opportunities. If you would like to financially support our programs, click the Donate button above.

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.