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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.”

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.”