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The Salvation Army is Love: Insights from an Advisory Council Member

I grew up with first-hand knowledge of the Salvation Army after being taken, along with my siblings, by the state and placed in our grandmother’s home. My grandmother was a supporter of The Salvation Army and had to rely upon its services to help clothe and feed us.

One way I decided to give back as I got older was by becoming an advisory council member of The Salvation Army of Cleveland County. I lived out of country for many of my adult years, so when we returned to Oklahoma I decided to get involved in volunteering to pay back the awesome care received as a child. I have been most surprised at the extent of homelessness and need in Cleveland County since becoming a council member.

Throughout my tenure serving on the council, I have enjoyed watching the programs grow, especially the Red Shield Club, working with the officers and staff, and being part of the progress over the last few years. The program The Salvation Army of Cleveland County offers I am most proud of is the Red Shield Club. If we care for the children and teach them to care for and respect others they will in turn provide for a better society as they become adults.

The one word that personifies The Salvation Army to me is LOVE… there is truly no discrimination towards any person in need! I wish that others knew about the commitment of the officers and staff to make Cleveland County a better place to live and raise a family.

Although my awesome siblings and I, nine brothers and two sisters, experienced a troublesome childhood, we all grew into caring, respectful and giving adults due to a Godly grandmother and thanks to the assistance provided by The Salvation Army! Together we are “Doing the Most Good” and I feel blessed to be involved with such a caring and generous organization serving the people in our community.

Betty Goss, Advisory Council Member
The Salvation Army of Cleveland County

To make a gift to support The Salvation Army’s many programs and services, please text HopeOKC to 41444 or go online https://app.mobilecause.com/form/drynoA

 

Story of Hope: Patricia

Patricia and her husband worked for 27 years in door-to-door sales by traveling around the country making a living. But due to some health issues Patricia was facing, they came off the road and settled in Oklahoma City. Arriving with nothing but what they had with them, Patricia and her husband stayed in a local shelter to begin again.

After two weeks, Patricia’s husband had a job and three months later, they were in an apartment of their own. Patricia found doctors who helped control her health issues and their lives seemed to be rolling along smoothly until six months later when a storm flooded their apartment. It was condemned and though they quickly found a new place, an increase in their monthly rent became a heavy burden.

Then Patricia’s husband’s hours were cut back. Finally, Patricia stepped out of her comfort zone and asked for help.

“The fear of a lot of people who are in my situation is judgment. When you have to ask for help with certain things you feel less than,” Patricia shared. “But here at The Salvation Army, when I come here to the pantry, they don’t make me feel less than. They just make me feel that they’re here to help me and anything I need; they’re going to do their best to help and I appreciate that. It makes a big, big difference in a person’s life.”

It was hard for Patricia to ask for help that first time but since then, she’s never looked back.

“Without The Salvation Army’s food pantry, we’d be short on food every month. The money runs out once you pay the rent and utilities. Whatever’s left is for food and that’s very little.”

Because of your generous support of The Salvation Army, families like Patricia’s are provided with groceries that feed them for a month. We could not help Patricia without your support and on her behalf, we say thank you.

If you’d like to continue supporting our Client Choice Food Pantry:

  • Sign up to volunteer by contact Liz Banks, volunteer coordinator, at 405-246-1107 or banks@uss.salvationarmy.org.
  • Host a food drive for the pantry! Contact Liz Banks for more information.
  • Donate now by giving online. Click here to give.

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma 2016 Christmas Successes


The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command saw an increase in donations and households served in 2016 from the previous Christmas season. The Red Kettle campaign raised $606,657.61 in Oklahoma, Cleveland and Canadian Counties, an increase of 4.68 percent over the 2015 campaign. 
 
“This Christmas was our best season to date. Despite the challenges our economy faced in 2015, the community stepped up to meet the needs of our families and generously gave to the Red Kettle,” said Major Carlyle Gargis, area commander at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma. “We are overwhelmed with joy and continue to offer up thanks to God for everyone who gave of their time, talent and treasure to help our neighbors in need.”
 
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program and Red Kettle campaign would not have been a success without the help of the 2,737 volunteers who served 13,935 hours during November and December. 
 
These volunteer hours were crucial to meeting the 16.7 percent increase of households seeking assistance through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. The Angel Tree program provided 2,089 families with Christmas gifts and food donated by the Central Oklahoma community. 
 
“Though the need was greater, we trusted in God to make a way. This community became the hands and feet of Jesus through each doll, toy truck and bicycle they gave,” said Major Charlotte Gargis, associate area commander. “On behalf of all of our families, we say thank you.”
 
It wasn’t just individuals who stepped up to help The Salvation Army meet this increased need. Jasco Products and Express Employment Professionals committed to match their employee’s contributions dollar for dollar to the Angel Tree. Paycom and its employees once again exceeded their previous red kettle gift with a donation of $70,000, holding on to the record for the largest contribution to the red kettle in Oklahoma City. Additional corporate partners who made The Salvation Army’s Christmas a success were the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Oklahoma Gas and Electric, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Enable Midstream Partners, KFOR-TV and iHeartMedia.
 
“The Salvation Army in Central Oklahoma keeps its doors open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to any in need,” said Major Carlyle Gargis. “There are more demands than we can meet on our own but with the community’s continued support, together we are able to provide relief from suffering and set a course for transformed lives year round.”

Salvation Army Extends Deadline for Final Angel Tree Push

 

The Salvation Army is extending the deadline to return Angels to the Angel Trees at Penn Square and Quail Springs Malls until Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 7 p.m. As of today, almost 300 Angels have not been adopted off of the mall Angel Trees and more than 2,700 have not been returned with their gifts.

The Salvation Army needs your help to ensure no child is forgotten this Christmas. Stop by the Angel Tree at Penn Square or Quail Springs Mall before Dec. 15 and adopt an Angel from the tree. The gifts purchased for the children and seniors on the Angel Tree are often the only Christmas gifts they receive.

“Even though our Angels may never know where these gifts come from, the feeling they get on Christmas morning when they open their gifts will stay with them forever,” said Major Charlotte Gargis, associate area commander of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma. “Once again we ask for the community’s help to make Christmas bright for families in need so no child or senior is forgotten.”

On average, 15 to 20 percent of Angels are not returned because they are lost or forgotten. The Salvation Army is in need of new clothing items and new, unwrapped toys to fill forgotten Angels, ages 6-14, this Christmas.

Toy and clothing donations may be brought to the mall Angel Trees or Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads, 7000 Crossroads Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73149, until December 17 at 4 p.m. The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Workshop is located on the east side of the mall, in the space formerly occupied by Montgomery Wards.

The Angel Tree families will begin receiving their gifts on December 19 through December 22. Each family will collect their gifts as well as receive a box of food to prepare a Christmas meal.

For questions on how you can help ensure no child is forgotten this Christmas, please contact Major Gargis at 405-246-1113 or charlotte.gargis@uss.salvationarmy.org. Your donation will bring hope to a family this Christmas.

 

10 Reasons You Should Volunteer To Be A Bell Ringer This Christmas

The holidays are a fun time of the year with festivities constantly planned with family, friends and coworkers! The celebrations are a great reminder of what’s really important in life. Looking for a new way to give back with your family, friends or coworkers? Bell ringing is a great opportunity to bring everyone together and impact your community. Need more convincing? Read through the ten reasons below why you should sign up to bell ring!
1. Start a Family Tradition

So many families try to volunteer during the holidays to instill the value of giving back to the community in their children. Ringing a bell is a great way to introduce them to volunteer work. It is simple enough that even the youngest child can help, but the impact is huge.

2. Be the Sounds of the Season

It really doesn’t feel like Christmas until you hear the first bell ringing. You can be a part of sharing holiday joy by providing the sounds of the season.

3. Hear Uplifting Stories from People Impacted by The Salvation Army

When people walk by the kettles, more often than not, they stop by with a story to tell. Whether they were once helped by The Salvation Army, used to volunteer or know someone who was a recipient of some sort of service, the stories they share are enlightening and uplifting.

4. It Becomes a Game

I personally started a competition with myself: how many people can I get to donate that walk through the doors? I wanted to greet everyone and share the message of The Salvation Army, which is to do the most good. I began to count how many people in a row I could get to donate, and then when someone didn’t donate, I started over. It was actually really entertaining!

5. The Money You Raise Directly Impacts Your Community

The Red Kettle Campaign is The Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser. 85% of everything raised by the Red Kettle Campaign goes directly back into the community, meaning it helps feed the hungry, keep people warm through the cold winter months, help at risk youth and many other programs that The Salvation Army offer.

6. You Can Learn How Much You Raised

After you ring the kettle, the kettle coordinator will collect your kettle and put a tag in the kettle, indicating that you were the person who rang. The next day, if you call the Corps, they will tell you how much you raised in the time you volunteered. It is incredibly rewarding to know that you donated four hours of your time and raised money that is going to a really good cause – at virtually no cost to you.

7. Christmas Caroling

Christmas Caroling is one of the best parts of the holiday season. Nothing says, “It’s Christmastime” like hearing people singing their favorite holiday tunes. It is a great excuse to sing your favorite carols without having the potential awkwardness of singing directly to someone by knocking on their door or visiting their home.

8. A Reason to Wear Tacky Christmas Sweaters

Dressing up to ring bells makes it even more fun! The Salvation Army thrift store has a wide array of Christmas sweaters throughout the year that make great holiday attire. You can wear your favorite tacky Christmas sweater, dress like Santa or Mrs. Clause, an elf, a reindeer or you can get creative!

9. It’s Fun

It is actually a lot of fun! Grab your family or a group of friends and make a day out of it. Pack your hot chocolate, some cookies and your camera and you have a fun holiday spirited outing! You can dance around, sing carols and really make it a fun event! The more joy the merrier the kettle!

10. Be a Part of the Legacy

The Red Kettle Campaign has a deep history in America. It began in 1891 in San Francisco when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee wanted to provide a free Christmas dinner to families who needed it. He decided to adapt an idea that was originally developed in Liverpool, England where people could throw some change into a pot to help the poor. Six years later, it spread to the East Coast and continued to grow into the tradition it is today, spreading throughout the entire United States and across the world. That’s a pretty exciting thing to be a part of!

 

Did we convince you?

To ring in Oklahoma County, contact Lt. Kyle Madison at 405-246-1063 or kyle.madison@uss.salvationarmy.org to sign up.

To ring in Cleveland County, contact Ernie Potter at 405-579-5442 or NormanKettles@uss.salvationarmy.org. You may also text 405-816-0382. Please provide your name, address, phone number and email when reaching out.

To ring in Canadian County, contact Lois DeBerry at 405-323-8846 or lois.deberry@uss.salvationarmy.org to sign up.

Salvation Army in Central Oklahoma to Serve on Front Lines of Hurricane Matthew

Oklahoma City, OK (October 6, 2016) – The Salvation Army offices in Central Oklahoma will be busy serving those affected by the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Kenny Kelly, Emergency Disaster Services Coordinator for the Central Oklahoma Area Command, will deploy to the Incident Command Center in Brunswick, Georgia to serve as the Operations Chief for The Salvation Army operations in St. Mary’s. As the Operations Chief, Kelly will have the overall responsibility for managing all direct service activities such as mass feeding and case management for the disaster relief operation.

Cindy Fuller, Divisional Communications Director, is being deployed to the Incident Command Center in Brunswick as well as the Public Information Officer (PIO). As the PIO, Fuller will be responsible for communicating critical information about The Salvation Army’s disaster relief activities to internal and external audiences, including the media, the general public and other Salvation Army units.

The Arkansas-Oklahoma Division is also deploying Officers from Conway, Mountain Home and Springdale, Arkansas as well as Enid, Lawton, Muskogee and Stillwater, Oklahoma to help those impacted by the Hurricane.

Resources from 13 states already mobilized for storm response.

Salvation Army disaster units from Florida to North Carolina are mobilizing to respond to Hurricane Matthew, a powerful tropical cyclone which is poised to cause extensive damage in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Salvation Army is also activating resources from across the country to support the recovery effort; this includes personnel and equipment from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Additional resources from across the United States are on stand-by.

The Salvation Army has 75 mobile feeding units, capable of producing 1,500 meals per day, are stationed in states threatened by Hurricane Matthew. These include 32 units in Florida, 22 units in Georgia, and 20 canteens in the North & South Carolina Division. In addition, The Salvation Army has already activated the following additional units from other divisions:

· Three Kentucky & Tennessee divisional canteens have been deployed to Greenville, SC
· Three Maryland & West Virginia divisional canteens have been deployed to Raleigh, NC
· Six Alabama, Louisiana & Mississippi divisional canteens have been deployed to Florida
· Ten Texas divisional canteens have been requested to deploy to a temporary staging area in Tallahassee
· Seven National Capital & Virginia divisional canteens are on standby.

Two field kitchens, capable of producing 15,000 per day are stationed in Florida. A third field kitchen from Texas is being deployed to the temporary staging area in Tallahassee. Two additional field kitchens, located in Texas and Mississippi, are on-stand-by.

The Salvation Army has deployed two satellite communications units in support of disaster operations; one unit is deploying to Florida and the second is stationed in North Carolina.

Salvation Army liaisons are being dispatched to state emergency operations centers in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina and the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta. The Salvation Army is also staffing numerous county emergency operations centers in impacted states.

How People Can Help
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation to the charity of your choice. Cash is flexible, can be used immediately in response to a crisis, and allows disaster relief organizations to purchase exactly what is needed, when it’s needed. Cash gives relief organizations the means to procure supplies near the affected area, which cuts down on transportation time and cost. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

It’s easy to support The Salvation Army’s disaster relief program:

  • Donate Online: http://give.salvationarmyusa.org/hurricane_matthew
  • Donate By Mail: The Salvation Army PO BOX 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301
    Please designate ‘Hurricane Matthew’ on all checks.
  • Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
  • Donate By Text: Text STORM to 51555 to receive a donation link for easy mobile giving

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 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army 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. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

 

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.