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Staff Spotlight – Chelsea Gallant

Even before meeting Chelsea Gallant, you can see in the way she speaks and interacts with others she has a love for people. You cannot help but be drawn in by her magnetic, bubbly personality.

Chelsea’s desire to be used of God and minister to people is clearly evident through her work. After graduating from Bible College with a music ministry degree, she immediately became the pastor of arts and worship and today works as the director of youth outreach and evangelism for The Salvation Army Citadel Corp, or church, in Oklahoma City.

In her role, Chelsea has the privilege to speak hope and encouragement into the lives of the children who attend The Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club as well as the children who attend the weekly church services.

“When I first worked at The Salvation Army’s summer youth camp, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this organization is doing the very thing that I have been longing to do in my ministry: get outside the four walls of the church and walk with people who come from all different backgrounds,’” Chelsea expressed. “Being a person who is passionate about youth and music ministry, I was incredibly impressed by how intentional The Salvation Army is about reaching youth.”

Her passion shines through every day. Chelsea’s discovered her ability to do missionary work wherever she may be and has surrendered her life to God. Her prayer is for God to open doors where she can share His love and gift of salvation with them.

“I fully believe that God has brought me to be a part of the ministry of The Salvation Army and I wouldn’t want to even imagine being anywhere else!”

Story of Hope – Diana

Diana, left, with Lois Deberry, executive director at The Salvation Army in El Reno, sitting on the couch she received.

Diana, left, with Lois Deberry, executive director at The Salvation Army in El Reno, sitting on the couch she received.

Walking into Diana’s home, you wouldn’t know that this woman had been put out on the street with none of her belongings just a few months prior. But when Lois DeBerry, executive director at The Salvation Army in El Reno, met Diana on Christmas Eve last year, all that was in the home was the quilt Diana slept on.

After visiting with Diana, Lois leapt into action contacting The Salvation Army’s Family Stores in Oklahoma City for items for Diana’s home and on December 26, Lois delivered a bedroom suite, couch and dining room table.

“They just kept moving it in and moving it in,” Diana explained with a smile. “I couldn’t believe it because I thought I was just getting a bed frame.”

Diana is grateful and amazed by the generosity she’s received in her short time in Oklahoma. Originally from Colorado, Diana came to live with her daughter. When the arrangement dissolved, Diana moved in with someone she thought was a friend.

After witnessing abuse in the house, Diana told her friend she was looking for another place to live and that’s when she was attacked. This woman threw Diana against the wall and as she escaped to her bedroom, the woman followed her and began strangling Diana. The woman’s grip loosed only when Diana dug her nails into the woman’s arms.

Diana quickly left the house and found help at Holy Trinity Church where the Father got her a room. She visited with Turning Point on available resources and her next steps. After getting her apartment, Diana’s caseworker contacted Lois. After recovering some of her belongings and receiving the furniture from The Salvation Army, Diana’s apartment has been turned into a home.

Diana has faced many challenges since coming to Oklahoma, including losing her dog to cancer, but she hasn’t lost her joy. Working on budgeting and her finances, Diana is looking forward to the opportunity to minister to others through the greeting cards she makes for the church and friends.

“I’ve tried not to worry about anything because I know God’s going to take care of me,” she said with that same smile. “He has His hand on me.”

Better than Daytime Television

Debra Gibbons - FacebookDebra Gibbons approached the Angel Tree booth at Penn Square Mall eight years ago with the intention of adopting an Angel. Debra had been blessing a young girl with Christmas for years on her own but as the girl had moved, she wanted to continue blessing another family.

As she talked with the volunteer at the booth, Debra began to ask questions about volunteer opportunities at The Salvation Army. The volunteer encouraged her to attend a Women’s Auxiliary meeting to see all of the ways the ladies support the programs and services of The Salvation Army.

Debra joined soon after and immediately jumped in with both feet serving as president for two years.

“As I get older, I see how short life is and the need for volunteering and then you realize you have all eternity to rest,” she laughed. “And, daytime television is terrible! But joking aside, I felt a calling here.”

Debra has given countless hours over the last eight years selflessly serving the community in any capacity necessary – even if it means answering the phones.

Salvation Army Hosts 4th Annual Senior Living Fair

Website Banner - 2015 logoThe Salvation Army 4th Annual Senior Living Fair will be held on Thursday, April 30, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Salvation Army Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope, 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107. The Senior Living Fair, presented by Well Preserved Advisory Group and Senior News & Living OK, strives to spread hope by providing resources that empower older Americans to be more positive, active and physically fit.

“We’re excited to be able to showcase so many organizations in one place that can be a resource to senior citizens,” said Lisa Sydnor, senior programs manager at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma. “We have 47 exhibitors for this year’s fair who can enhance and empower our seniors to live fuller lives.”

The Senior Living Fair is free to the public, thanks to sponsors like Brookdale Senior Living, and includes exhibits for health and wellness, housing, Medicare information, insurance, aging-in-place, and fun ways to stay active.

Exhibitors for this year include the Oklahoma State Attorney General, Legal Aid of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma City Fire Department, Valir, Sunbeam Family Services, RSVP of Central Oklahoma, AARP, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Seniors on the Move and many more.

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.

Staff Spotlight – Andy Hale

AndyAndy Hale was just having a casual conversation with a guy at the gym but little did he know it put into motion something bigger for him, his wife and their three children.

That conversation brought him to be the director of the Oklahoma City Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club where Andy directly impacts 70 youth each day with recreation, education, spiritual & character development activities, protecting them from drug abuse and gang violence.

But Andy isn’t new to youth ministry. With a background as a college basketball coach, he has a deep-rooted passion for inspiring young people to be the best they could be both in sports and life.

“Being a basketball coach at three different universities, I always represented the institution with pride and dignity,” said Hale. “I in turn encouraged each student athlete I worked with and influenced to do the exact same.”

Growing up on the south side of Oklahoma City, Andy has truly found a position that perfectly intersects his past experiences and passion – creating a safe, fun environment for inner city kids where their lives can be positively affected each and every day.

“God will put me where He wants me, when He wants me there.”
His total faith in God’s timing and plan shows through as he talks about his family, the Club’s kids and the community surrounding them.

If you would like to make a difference in the lives of our young people, you can:

  • Volunteer as a mentor, coach a sports team, teach a life skills class, lead an arts & crafts activity or entertain the kids with a musical or theatrical performance.
  • Provide snacks, prizes, arts & crafts and sports equipment for our youth to use while at the Club. Items can be dropped off at 2808 S.E. 44th, Oklahoma City, OK  73129.
  • Click the Donate Now button above and financially support our Boys & Girls Club.

The Little Things

Faunda

Faunda (in middle) doing what she loves best – enjoying a conversation with friends.

When looking back on life, we usually remember the grand gestures and larger than life moments that created an unforgettable memory. We overlook the small things like hugs or encouraging words on a bad day that made a huge difference in that moment but quickly passed. The following letter came as a handwritten note to our senior center coordinator that continually points out those little things we so often forget.

To Whom It May Concern,

 

I have lived at Reding Senior Center for over nine years.

 

I have enjoyed The Salvation Army for several years, since my husband passed away a little over three years age, now I really appreciate it.

 

I love coming over every morning they are open. Coffee, a good laugh, interesting conversation, etc. The bus taking us to Walmart is a big help especially for those with no car.

 

I would be totally lost without this place to come to, the food – especially Broccoli Cheese soup – and Esther, she does so much for us. She has a special place in her heart for seniors. We love her!

 

Yours in Christ,

Faunda

If you want to be involved in our senior programs, you can:

  • Donate board games, snacks, coffee or arts and crafts for our seniors to enjoy at the center.
  • Volunteer your time and lead the seniors in a dance or exercise class, teach a life skills class, spend time talking and playing board games with them, or assist during a holiday party.
  • Give a financial gift by clicking the Donate Now button above or mailing a check to 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.

“This is what they do.”

Tom Philips - shelter bed (small cropped)

Each month, our board members are given the opportunity to share why they are involved at The Salvation Army. Tom Phillips recently seized the moment and told a story two business clients shared with him.

Several weeks ago I was visiting with a couple in my office when they noticed a Salvation Army plaque hanging on my wall. They remarked they recently had a very nice experience with The Salvation Army here in Oklahoma City and began to tell me their story.

 

Their daughter and future son-in-law were strolling downtown when they saw a young man pulling a suitcase down the street. She noticed that he was crying and appealed to her fiancé to stop and ask if they could help. Her fiancé was not too excited at the idea but agreed if the young man did not cross to the opposite side of the street, they’d approach him. In that same moment the young man sat down on a bench, so they walked to him and found him still weeping. They inquired if he was alright and he shared his story.

 

A year prior, the young man had come to Oklahoma City for an aunt’s funeral and decided to stay. He got a job at a factory but it didn’t go well and he was picked on by other workers. It came to a point when he got into an altercation with one of his tormentors and was fired. Since then, he had been unable to find another job and had started living on the streets with all his possessions in his suitcase because he didn’t know where to turn.

 

My clients received a call from their daughter seeking advice since they both work downtown and know the area. They discouraged their daughter from trying to take him home but put their heads together to come up with a plan. One of them thought of The Salvation Army, called and they were invited to come visit. All five came since they wanted to make sure the young man would be safe. They found themselves warmly welcomed by the receptionist who said there was a place for the young man.

 

The family left him to get settled though their daughter was still concerned about the young man’s welfare. Her father reassured her by stating, “This is what they do.” A few hours later they received a call from the young man and he told them that The Salvation Army was going to let him stay for up to two months while he looked for another job. Then he said, “You know what else? They’re nice to me here.”

 

That’s why I stay involved with the Salvation Army! I share this couple’s confidence in The Salvation Army’s knowledge and passion for meeting the needs of those who are hurting in Oklahoma City, those who have no place else to go, those who have no hope.

If you or someone you know needs a safe place to find rest, please contact us at 405-246-1080 or come to our shelter at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.

If you would like to get involved with our shelter ministry, you can:

  • Donate blankets and bath towels for our shelter guests to use during their stay.
  • Click the Donate Now above and give a financial gift to the shelter.

Senior Programs’ Gospel Extravaganza Benefit Concert

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s Senior Programs is hosting a Gospel Extravaganza Benefit Concert on Saturday, March 14 at 4 p.m. at All Nations Church of Nazarene, 1121 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, 73107.

The artists performing include Arnetta Yancey, Glenda Greenhoward, Lé Fuze, Judy Jackson, Margaret Johnson, James Willis, The Men Who Praise, Prevailing Church Praise Team, Glenn Hamilton, and Chelsea Gallant with emcee McDonald Yancey.

“We have talented, award-winning artists performing for us and we are so grateful for their support,” said Lisa Sydnor, director of senior programs at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma. “Our goal is to entertain and raise money for the programs at our senior centers.”

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.

“Many of our seniors are alone and we want to make sure they know they are loved and appreciated,” said Sydnor. “We strive to minister to the whole individual with a variety of programs each week.”

All funds raised from this concert will go towards the ongoing programs in The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s Senior Programs. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by contacting Lisa Sydnor at 405-274-0979 or lisa_sydnor@uss.salvationarmy.org. Donations for the seniors programs can be made at www.salvationarmyokcac.org or mailed to P.O. Box 2536, Oklahoma City, OK 73101.

Story of Hope: From Parking Lot to Food Pantry

JamesJames Dixon prayed a simple prayer upon retirement – “God, put me in a place where I can serve Your people with the opportunity of changing their lives.” James, our client choice food pantry manager, gets that opportunity every week as individuals leave, changed by the food assistance they receive at The Salvation Army.

But James didn’t come to The Salvation Army for a job. He started his service as a volunteer parking cars at the Senior Living Fair in 2014.

“I saw they needed volunteers through my church and decided to help. I met the volunteer coordinator who invited me to help with the food pantry program and I fell in love with working alongside The Salvation Army.”

James went from three hours a week to nine hours in just a short time. Volunteering at the Angel Tree distribution center during Christmas he felt such compassion for the people coming in who had so little yet were so grateful.

A military veteran of the Vietnam War, James has seen a lot during his life. Yet, the most amazing thing to him is those moments in the food pantry when someone comes in to find hope.

“I’ve learned a lot in my lifetime, and I still have a lot more to learn, but one of the most beautiful moments is when I’m here in this place helping others in need.”

Today, James is living out that request he asked of God several years ago. He has the privilege to work in the Client Choice Food Pantry where lives are changed not only with food, but with love and hope.

If you would like to get involved at The Salvation Army, you can:

  • Volunteer: Contact Liz Banks at 405-246-1107 or liz_banks@uss.salvationarmy.org to give of your time and talents to one of our programs like the Client Choice Food Pantry.
  • Collect non-perishable items – oatmeal, cereal, applesauce, boxed dinners, peanut butter, canned tuna or chicken, canned soup, rice, & powdered, dry or shelf milk – and perishable items – milk, eggs, cheese, juice, frozen vegetables & meat – for the Client Choice Food Pantry.
  • Click the Donate Now button above and give a financial gift to the Client Choice Food Pantry.

(2/13/15) Winter Coats Availble for Oklahoma County Residents

The expectation of this weekend’s cold front is reviving the need for a warm winter coat. The Salvation Army has hundreds of winter coats available to keep Oklahoma County residents warm. Oklahoma County residents are invited to pick up a coat beginning today, February 13, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Thanks to the generous donations received from the Brad Edwards’ KFOR Warmth 4 Winter Program, our community, and our partners – South Oklahoma City Rotary and Legacy Cleaners – The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command has an abundance of coats, ready for distribution to help keep Oklahoma County residents in need warm.

“For anyone who needs a winter coat we have one for every size, shape and style. From youth to seniors, we have a coat for everyone that will be sure to keep you warm,” said Jessica Smith, Director of Social Services.

The Salvation Army’s Social Services is located at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107 on the east side of the Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope. Individuals can pick up coats beginning today at 2 p.m. Coats will also be available next week:

Monday–Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
(Closed Saturday and Sunday)

Basic eligibility rules for families and/or individuals to qualify for and receive coats from this program require:

1. Picture ID – such as a Driver’s License, H.NET ID card, State Issued ID, Governmental or Military ID, or Passport or ID from Country of Origin for ALL adult household members
2. Social Security Card
3. Proof of Residency such as a current utility bill, lease agreement or monthly mortgage statement

For individuals who are homeless, providing their H.NET ID card is sufficient.