Archive for Salvation Army

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.

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!”

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.

“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.

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, you can:

  • Volunteer as a mentor and teach budgeting and other life skills.
  • Provide socks, gloves, black or tan slack, 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.