Archive for Oklahoma City

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.

Central Oklahoma 2015 Christmas Successes

 

Red Kettle fundraiser sees 7.6 percent increase over 2014 along with an 8 percent increase
in individuals served through Angel Tree

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command saw an increase in donations and individuals served in 2015 from the previous Christmas season. The Red Kettle campaign raised $579,199.91 in Oklahoma, Cleveland and Canadian Counties, an increase of 7.6 percent over the 2014 campaign.

“Because of your generosity, thousands of individuals found hope at The Salvation Army during Christmas,” 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.”

Money was not the only resource Oklahomans were generous with this year. The Salvation Army’s volunteers gave more of their time in 2015 with 3,323 volunteers serving 14,369 hours to ring the bell and assist the Angel Tree program.

The additional hours were crucial to meeting the 8 percent increase of individuals seeking assistance through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. The Angel Tree program provided 9,919 individuals, representing over 1,600 families, with Christmas gifts and food donated by the Central Oklahoma community.

“With the increased need, we were concerned our goal would not be met but we prayed and received a miracle with individuals and businesses stepping up to ensure no child was forgotten,” said Major Charlotte Gargis, associate area commander. “On behalf of all of our families, we say ‘thank you’ for giving the gift of love through each doll, toy truck and bicycle.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder, Chesapeake Energy and Paycom were key partners during the season to make Christmas wishes a reality. Five families were adopted by the OKC Thunder and were surprised at home by Thunder players who brought with them gifts, food and tickets to the Christmas Day game. Chesapeake Energy boosted The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program with a gift of $125,000 and Paycom employees once again gave to the red kettle campaign with a gift of $65,000, exceeding any other gift given to the Oklahoma City campaign.

“The Salvation Army in Central Oklahoma helps those in need 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” 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.”

 

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, you can:

  • Volunteer as a mentor and teach budgeting and other life skills.
  • Provide socks, gloves, black or tan slacks, white collared shirts, black-soled shoes and other items individuals need for work. Items can be dropped off at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.
  • 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.

Scared & Homeless: Kelly’s Story of Hope

Kelly SouthernKelly had never experienced homelessness until last winter. Kelly and her husband originally came to Oklahoma to stay with family but when they arrived, the family was gone and the couple had no one else to turn to for help. She was scared.

On extreme winter nights, they would get a cot in our shelter at The Center of Hope. Kelly would ask the staff everyday if any beds were available and in February, the answer was finally yes.

“Our experience since we’ve been here is lovely. It’s beautiful. Everybody’s so sweet – everybody. I don’t have a problem with one single person.”

Kelly and her husband have both been able to find jobs and have been approved for an apartment. The things they placed in storage before becoming homeless will furnish their new place.

“If we get those keys, we’ll just sleep on the floor. I’m ready to go. I’ve been here since February and I didn’t think you could stay that long but it was on God’s time. We couldn’t rush Him.”

Kelly repeatedly expressed her appreciation of the staff and residents for their support and friendliness. As Kelly prepared to leave for work with her gospel music at the ready to help her stay awake, she reinforced her gratitude for the shelter, “I had the best experience.”

Because of your donations, Kelly and her husband were able to find their way back from homelessness. If you’d like to make a difference in the life of someone just like Kelly, you can:

  • Volunteer as a mentor and teach budgeting and other life skills.
  • Provide travel size containers of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap and toothpaste. Other items needed also include toothbrushes, combs and new socks. Items can be dropped off at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.
  • Click the Donate Now button above and financially support our shelter programs.

Christmas in July: Women’s Auxiliary Raising Funds to Purchase Bicycles for Holiday Program

Buck$ 4 Bikes 2015 Newsletter wShield
The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Raising Funds to Purchase Bicycles
for Needy Children at Christmas

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 77 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 qualified 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 2014, 1,880 children wished for a bike and 1,000 received one thanks to donated funds to the program.

The 2015 Buck$ 4 Bikes program goal is 1,150 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 $32.00 to $48.50.

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.

Arvest Bank Homeland (NW 122nd & Rockwell) Pace Butler Corporation
Advance Chiropractic InterTrust Quail Creek Bank
BancFirst (5 locations only) Jasco RCB Banks
Bandana Reds JGVE Engineering The Buzz Coffee Shop
Beauty Mark Salon J’s Hallmark locations Sweets & Spurs
Cuppies & Joe Liberty Mutual TBS Factoring Service
Del Rancho (Midwest City) Maccini Construction Tinker Tag Agency
Fellers-Snider Law office North OKC Rotary Club Veritiv
First National Banks Napoleon Deli
H & H Gun Range Old Dominion Freight Lines

Donations can also be made by mailing a check to:

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command
Attn: Major Charlotte Gargis
1001 N. Pennsylvania
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
Memo: Buck$ 4 Bikes

If you have any questions, contact The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command at 405-246-1100.

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.