Archive for hope

A Place to Find Hope: Danell’s Story

Danell was nervous the first time he visited The Salvation Army of Cleveland County. He had recently experienced a stroke which left him out of a job. He had lost his place in the world and needed help, “This was the first time I have asked or needed help so I felt a little nervous at first. I had worked all my life and now found myself needing help”. The Salvation Army of Cleveland County provided Danell emergency shelter, “It was a life changer. Without the shelter I would be out on the streets. It made all the difference in the world to me”.

He worked with The Salvation Army of Cleveland County to get him back on his feet again. They assisted Danell by locating permanent housing. “I felt great when I knew that I would have a place to call home. I was nervous about what the future would hold for me but am so thankful for those who helped me every step of the way”.

Danell cannot stop praising the team at The Salvation Army of Cleveland County for going the distance for him, “They provided an opportunity for me to stay in the shelter…they gave me a chance. The Salvation Army is a great organization and I have seen firsthand how much they truly want to help people.”

He indeed has seen firsthand the need in the community, being on the receiving side for a short timeframe, and shared how important it is for individuals to support The Salvation Army. “The money really goes to people who need it on a daily basis. I rang the bell at Christmas time and enjoyed that experience very much. People are so generous. I would encourage people to give what you can.”

Thank you for investing in the lives of individuals like Danell! To make a gift, please text HopeOKC to 41444 or go online https://app.mobilecause.com/form/drynoA

Together we are providing hope for our community and #DoingTheMostGood!

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.”

Just Have Faith & Determination – Marlon’s Story of Hope

Marlon 2Marlon is no stranger to starting over in a new place. Originally from Louisiana, Marlon left for Las Vegas after Hurricane Katrina and eventually settled in Salina, KS. After a relationship turned into a bad situation, he decided it was time to move on – leaving his job, friends and coworkers to start again.

He first went to Wichita, KS but after struggling to find a job, Marlon headed for Oklahoma City after learning that it was in the top five for cities with the lowest unemployment rate.

With his savings quickly depleting, Marlon stay on the floor at an Oklahoma City shelter but he knew he needed a more stable environment in order to get back on his feet. That is when he learned of The Salvation Army.

Just five days after arriving in Oklahoma, Marlon had a bed to call his own and an army of people rooting for him. Within two weeks he had a job. Now Marlon has two jobs and feels blessed that both are such great working environments.

“None of this would have been possible without God – God first,” Marlon proudly expresses. “I have a strong belief in Him and my faith in God has gotten even stronger since I’ve been here at The Salvation Army.”

Marlon’s faith in God and his hard work have him on the fast track to be back on his feet. Working over 60 hours a week, he is already making weekly payments on new bedroom and living room furniture. He has already picked out an apartment but is waiting to save more money before signing a lease.

“I’ve got so many plans. I’ve got goals that are reachable – long-term goals that are far off but they’re also doable,” Marlon explains. “But one step at a time, slow and easy.”

In our shelter, Marlon has become a role model for others wanting to change their life. He was awarded the Shining Star award which recognizes individuals who have made great strides to improve their lives.

Marlon mentors the other residents realistically telling them that change has to happen.

“I’m no saint or nothing like that but when I do point them in the right direction, it’s up to them to do these things. I try to tell them how to present themselves. Humble yourself, you know. Those old street ways, those old attitudes you’ve got to lose that now.”

It is clear that Marlon is not going to let a bad situation that was forced on him keep him down. His constant positivity, faith and determination are an inspiration to everyone. And he knows that he is not the only one who is capable of changing his circumstances.

“I’m not the only one who can do this. Everyone else can do it too but they have to want it.”

Because of your support of The Salvation Army, Marlon’s story was made possible. If you would like to continue making a difference in the life of someone just like Marlon, click the Donate Now button above and financially support our shelter programs.

Spreading Smiles: A Volunteer’s Mission of Hope

Geryl - WebsiteGeryl Force came with his wife to volunteer on our first Thanksgiving Day in The Salvation Army Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope. They were two of the 350 volunteers who came through our building that day.

“It made it easy for us as volunteers to be able to serve everybody like they wanted to be served – like they were personally being served by a person. If they needed anything, we could go get it for them. With that many volunteers, we waited on them hand and foot, you could say.”

After the holiday, Geryl began volunteering in the Client Choice Food Pantry. He loves talking with the clients who come for the food assistance program and strives to make them each feel appreciated.

“Since I’ve started volunteering in the pantry, I’ve really enjoyed it. I have fun with the people. We joke around. They talk and I listen if they’ve got something they need to say to get it off their chest. I try to be a listener as well as communicate with them because I like to listen to what they have to say. If they have any problems, they can talk to me. I can’t solve them but at least I can listen.”

It’s been eye-opening for Geryl too as he sees the need in our community for food assistance. The clients are so grateful, continually expressing their thanks, which puts a smile on his face that he shares with the next person.

“I try to have some fun with them. They laugh, and it puts a smile on their face.”

Story of Hope – Randy

Randy Woods - WebsiteRandy’s mother left him when he was two years old. He was raised by his grandmother but Randy had a lot of anger in his heart. At the age of eight, he began drinking and by 15, Randy was an alcoholic. At 21 he started using drugs and his life continued to spiral out of control with a couple of visits to prison.

Randy first came to The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in 2010. After finishing his 90 days of recovery, Randy left without really a change in his heart. He came back to the center in 2012 with a better attitude. After graduating in 2013, Randy started a business with a friend but when they walked off with half of the equipment, Randy slipped and drank. Knowing he couldn’t outrun his addiction or continue to spiral again, he came back to the ARC.

“I’ve got more of an open mind. I’ve got clarity to see that it’s not about me. It’s about God working through me. Once I change my attitude and my thinking, I can start leading by example. People look at me and they like me.”

Now the head cook at the center, Randy focuses on helping the other men in the program. He’s also gotten involved in The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Mission Station and loves that he can give back.

“It’s amazing because we can get together and fellowship. This place is full of God. Jesus is here and you can feel His presence always. Just being a part of that helps me grow and build my confidence and my character so I can become a better person altogether.”

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Mission Station has allowed Randy and many others from the ARC to minister by giving their testimonies. It’s a place where they can share what God’s done in their lives through His unfailing love.

“Since the new building, with you guys and us over there, finally it’s starting to work together. United we can make, divided we will fall. I just know that God has a great plan for me.”

Because of your donations, Randy found hope at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center and found purpose at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Mission Station. If you would like to help support these ministries:

  • Donate goods to The Salvation Army Family Stores. Find the nearest location near you by visiting https://satruck.org/ or call 1-800-SA-TRUCK.
  • Attend a service at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Mission Station at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, OKC, OK 73107 on Sundays or Tuesdays at 6 p.m.
  • Give financially to The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma as we continue to help those in need in our community by clicking the Donate Now button above.

“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.

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.

Story of Hope: Katherine

Katherine - Facebook

Katherine with her service dog, Sally, on their bed in The Salvation Army family residential wing.

Moving away from negative family influences in Missouri, Katherine came to Oklahoma with nothing but her husband, son and service dog, Sally. Not wanting to impose on a friend’s hospitality too long, Katherine made calls to see if there was a place for her family to stay.

“I was afraid of being separated from my husband and son at a shelter. I didn’t want that to happen. But when I called the shelter here, I was told there was a room where we could all stay just like a hotel.”

Since coming to stay with us 12 weeks ago, Katherine’s husband has found a job and her family is about to receive their own apartment.

“It’s been life changing to be here & have the opportunity to start over for my son. He’s in a safe environment and can focus on his education. The Salvation Army is such a great place where you can focus on your experiences and work on making a change.”

Katherine and her family will be moving into an apartment at the end of the week. Because of your donations, your prayers, your sacrifice, stories like Katherine’s happen every day.

“Being here, I’ve been able to find God again. I can’t say it enough how grateful I am for this place. I would do anything for The Salvation Army. I want to get involved and give back so someone else can benefit from my experiences.”

If you would like to make a difference in the life of someone just like Katherine, click the Donate Now button above and financially support our shelter programs.