Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

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With more than 350 runners and hundreds of volunteers, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s inaugural Red Hot Kettle Run was a big success!

Not only did everyone have fun, we raised a ton of money for The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club and social services. The Hooters Girls, Jake FM, Rococo’s, Hudiburg, At the Beach and even more came together to help make this a big day for The Salvation Army.

We did have issues with getting water out to the water stations, but we never make the same mistake twice and this issue will be resolved for next year! Our apologies for anyone that went thirsty. Luckily, we had a ton of water and energy drinks – as well as iced towels – at the finish line!

Photos of each runner at the finish line are going up as well on our Facebook Community Page “Red Hot Kettle Run.” Big kudos to race director Sam Walker, who works in The Salvation Army Social Services office!

So, here are a few pics from the race. We’ll put more up in the next few days! Thanks to EVERYONE!!!

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Folks, I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but it’s dangerously hot here in Oklahoma. As we move deeper into August, temperatures are expected to remain in the high 90s and into the triple digits. Today, for example, the high is supposed to be 109 degrees!

With that in mind, here are a bunch of photos from the Fan Drive we held with Rococo’s restaurant, The Bricktown Rotary and KFOR-TV. Because of them, we have hundreds of fans in stock to give out to the elderly, the ill and disabled and families with infants under 6 months old.

If you know of anyone fitting that description, please send them to us for a fan.

Out of curiosity, how are you staying cool this summer?

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The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, 2808 SE 44th, is currently enrolling students for its After School Program, held from 3 to 6:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The After School Program is open to all Oklahoma City metro students ages 6 to 18.

The Boys & Girls Club offers homework assistance, fine arts programs, sports programs and character-building every day to members. Cost is $20 per year. In addition, daily snacks and dinner is served to children attending the club through The Oklahoma Regional Food Bank’s Kids Cafe program.

Parents should go to the Club to enroll their children. Enrollment will continue until all space is filled. The Salvation Army accepts students from all metro area schools.

Wow, what an amazing night Monday!

With the help of KFOR-TV and the Bricktown Rotary, a massive box fan drive was held at Rococo’s on N. Penn Ave. For those of you who don’t know, Rococo’s is one of the best restaurants in Oklahoma City and are famous for their “cookies,” which are actually little savory appetizers topped with delightful cheeses, sausages, crab and more.

Truly a team effort, this fan drive not only brought in well over 200 actual box fans, but over $2,000 in donations. All in all, we are able to provide 400 box fans, thanks to Rococo’s, KFOR and The Bricktown Rotary. That means 400 senior citizens and families will find a bit of relief from this deadly heat due to the generosity of Oklahoma City citizens.

But, man, was it HOT! Well over 100 degress, The Salvation Army and its partners stood out in the blistering heat to hand out coupons for free “cookies” to those who donated a new fan. Inside, donors and supporters enjoyed cool drinks and delicious appetizers.

KFOR’s Scott Hines was a real powerhouse yesterday, doing live shot after live shot at the event. Lamar Advertising donated space on their digital billboards all Monday long to promote the event. Members of Bricktown Rotary reached out to their networks to encourage donations.

What resulted was one of the most successful drives we’ve seen.

I’ll have photos up soon. I have a few favorites, including the little girl who gave up her birthday money in order to buy fans to donate.

For those still wanting to help out, you can drop off new box fans at our Social Services office at 501 S. Harvey or mail donations to PO Box 2095, Oklahoma City, OK 73101. In this heat, we’ve seen over nine deaths already this summer. Please help The Salvation Army save lives by “Doing the Most Good.”

A happy student checks out at Target in Oklahoma City following a shopping spree with Target and The Salvation Army.

On Tuesday, July 26, more than 60 local students in need visited Oklahoma City and Norman Target stores to purchase school supplies, clothing and other must-have necessities just in time for back-to-school.

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma and Target helped 60 K-12 students across the city gear up for the upcoming academic year and get ready to succeed in school with the Target School Spree.

Each child, selected by The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command and Norman Salvation Army, was awarded an $80 Target Gift Card to purchase much-needed back-to-school supplies. Each child was also given a reusable Target shopping bag and was paired with a volunteer chaperone for their fun day of back-to-school shopping.  

For many families, back to school time means having to spend precious dollars for school supplies and new clothes. When some parents struggle to pay bills and put food on the table, even the simplest items like a pencil or new shirts can be challenging.

“It was such a pleasure to see the faces of the children while they were shopping,” said Cpt. Patrishia Knott of The Salvation Army. “They were able to buy new clothes for school and all the supplies they needed. It’s just one of the ways The Salvation Army is ‘Doing the Most Good,’ especially with community partners like Target.”

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For former University of Oklahoma Sooner Football star Jacob Gutierrez, the idea of sharing not only the basic skills of football, but his faith through football was too dear to his heart to pass up.

Gutierrez, along with the NFL’s Detroit Lions Tight End Joe Jon Finley and former NFL Running Back Leon Johnson, spent three days at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s Boys & Girls Club to host a football camp for more than 30 12-17 year old boys.

“This week, we have a three-day football camp, and the kids get to meet former and current NFL players and University of Oklahoma players to work on drills, stance and agility,” said Myron Mosely, athletic director for the Army’s Boys & Girls Club.

“A friend introduced me to Jacob and told him what we were doing with the kids here at the club. We both decided a football camp was a great idea.”

At the camp, Boys & Girls Club members worked on agility, correct stance, endurance and tackles. Although the basic skills of football are important, Gutierrez said he hoped the boys would learn why faith is important in their lives as well.

“Football is an important part of my life, and faith is an important part of my life, so having the football camp with The Salvation Army was a perfect fit,” Gutierrez said.

“Sometimes, when you put a Bible in front of a kid, it can be hard for them to relate. But, if you take something they love, like football, and tie it in with Scripture, it hits home for them. We discuss Scripture every day and then apply it to sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership and working hard.”

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s Boys & Girls Club debuted the football camp this year, but Mosely hopes to make the OU/NFL camp a yearly tradition.

With current and former NFL players participating, he said the free football camp was another way to reach at-risk youth.

“Hopefully, they learn about leadership, teamwork and discipline,” Mosely said. “They are learning the fundamentals of football, but our message is that we are here to help them in positive ways. It’s another way to get the kids off the streets and doing something that will help them in the future.”

Joe Jon Finley of the Detroit Lions helped youth with their tackles and footwork during the camp, but his goal was showing the athletes how fun football could be.

“I hope they have fun first of all,” Finley said. “Football is a fun game, but secondly, I want them to have good role models. I want them to learn that if you do the right thing, then good things can happen.”

Archery is one of the skills that campers learn at The Salvation Army Heart O'Hills camp.

On Monday, July 18, more than 85 at-risk children from Central Oklahoma will load into Salvation Army Central Oklahoma buses to head to a week-long summer camp in Tahlequah, and for many of these children, it will be their first time to experience outdoor camping.

 The children attending camp do so at no cost, thanks to sponsorships from donors and The Salvation Army. According to Megan Brown-Ellis, program director for The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Oklahoma City, the youth take part in outdoor sports, swimming classes, hiking, leadership activities, arts and crafts, Bible study and ropes courses.

 “The Salvation Army Summer Camp gives them character education and encouragement to be their best,” she said. “If they didn’t have The Salvation Army summer programs, most would be roaming the streets or sitting at home watching TV. This is a special experience for them, especially those who have never had the chance to go to summer camp.”

 The Salvation Army Arkansas-Oklahoma Division, which The Central Oklahoma Salvation Army is a part of, owns Camp Heart O’ Hills, a residential camp located near Tahlequah. Campers take part in sports, games, paddle boating, challenge courses and more.

 Taylor, age 10, of Oklahoma City is among the campers leaving Monday. She is a member of the Boys & Girls Club and had her first camp experience earlier this summer.

 “It’s fun,” she said. “I was nervous about camping at first because I never did before, but I loved it. We get to go swimming, do Bible study and we got to paddle boat.”

 Other activities include miniature golf, tennis, volleyball, fishing, archery and night programs.

 All of the children going to the Heart O’ Hills Camp next week are doing so at no cost to their families. Each year, donors “sponsor” a child or send donations for the camp program, which allows families with financial struggles to send their child to camp.

 Camping supplies, provided by The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, are given to children who do not have their own camping gear.

 “Camp is so much fun for children, and every child should have the opportunity to experience a true summer camp,” said Brown-Ellis. “The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club gives them the opportunity to go.”

 Donations are needed for the summer camp program.  Financial donations can be sent to The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command, ATTN: Summer Camp, P.O. Box 2095, Oklahoma City, OK  73101.

Two of the most popular items on the menu at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, located near Harkins Theater in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown, are the burgers and chicken fried chicken sandwich.

Because of that, citizens throughout the metro can enjoy a juicy burger or chicken fried chicken sandwich while helping their neighbors who were affected by the tornados that ravaged our state this spring.

On Thursday, June 2, 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales of burgers or chicken fried chicken sandwiches will be donated to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief funds. Come by for lunch and dinner, meet the on-air personalities for KMGL, KOMA, KRXO and KOKC radio stations and find out how you can be a disaster response volunteer for The Salvation Army.

How did this come about? Well, the big shout out should go to Jennifer Bell and the rest of the team at Renda Broadcasting, as well as the great management team at Toby Keith’s place, for setting up this generous fundraiser.

Now, it’s your turn, and what a tough challenge it is – enjoying a delicious lunch or dinner at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill this Thursday!

Hope to see you out there!

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Salvation Army volunteers pray with a victim of the El Reno tornado on Tuesday night following a rash of severe and deadly storms in Oklahoma.

The Salvation Army in Arkansas and Oklahoma is active in disaster response to several areas as a result of weather related events.

A strong storm system crossed Oklahoma and Arkansas on May 24 that developed multiple thunderstorms and tornadoes across the division.

The Central Oklahoma Area Command has been dispatched to a location West of El Reno to support search, rescue and recovery efforts. The command post is being operated by El Reno Fire Department at Highways 66 and 270. Lunch and dinner will be served to responders at the command post as well as storm survivors.

The El Reno Service Center continues to act as a shelter for those who lost homes. It has also become an information center for residents. The command is also providing transportation for supplies being delivered to Delaware County to assist with response efforts in that area as a result of storms on Sunday.

The Enid canteen continues to serve responders and storm survivors in Woodward County. Damage assessments are still underway in the area.

The Lawton canteen provided breakfast to the shelter at Bible Baptist Church in Chickasha (Grady County) this morning. The Salvation Army is working closely with American Red Cross on shelter operations.

Captain Ernest Hull, Lawton, and Lt. James Biddix of Chickasha are assessing the damage in Grady County and working with emergency management to see if there are further needs.

The Ponca City canteen completed service late last night as search and rescue efforts near Stillwater were completed. Missouri Captain Warren Jones, Sapulpa, and a volunteer continue to be on the scene in Joplin, Missouri where a devastating tornado hit on Sunday evening. They arrived at 3:30 Am on Monday morning.

The canteen, capable of 2,000 meals per day, is now located near St. John’s hospital supporting numerous responders.

Captain Jones said, “On Monday, the faces of the residents were in total shock. It was difficult to even serve a bottle of water or cup of coffee as they didn’t even know they needed it.”

Additionally, flooding still continues to be an issue in both states due to previous storm systems. Arkansas Lt. Josh Robinett, Russellville, will be serving lunch from the Little Rock canteen in Denning (Franklin County) today. Denning was struck by a tornado late last night.

The Salvation Army is working closely with American Red Cross and local emergency management to ensure the immediate needs of responders and survivors are met.

In McGehee (Desha County), The Salvation Army continues to support National Guard troops working on levees along the Mississippi river. Jason Burns, McGehee Service Center, as well as numerous volunteers have served 5,752 meals over 13 days.

Captain David Robinson, Pine Bluff, is also on sit3. Volunteers from Desha and Chicot counties have provided 1,343 hours of service.

The Salvation Army needs financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters can make a donation to support Salvation Army Disaster Services.

These gifts make it possible for The Salvation Army to provide food and hydration, emotional and spiritual care, and other assistance to disaster survivors. Visit http://www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY to donate. All donations for disaster services will be used for the designated purpose.

Last week, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma tried something a little bit new. Because our facilities are so close to the Oklahoma City Arena, where our very own Oklahoma City Thunder basketball games are held, we thought we’d try to raise funds by parking cars.

For $5, visitors to the game could park at our lot on SW 4th between Harvey and Hudson Ave. For $10, they could park and get a ride to the arena.

What a success!!! We parked 60 cars and raised $300 to help purchase basketball jerseys for the youth program at the Canadian County Salvation Army Service Unit. What’s more, the Oklahoma City Thunder donated $1,500 from their auction proceeds to help us meet our goal of $1,800 for jerseys!

Needless to say, we were ecstatic and so thankful for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the fans for helping us buy jerseys for youngsters in Salvation Army programs.

Well, it worked so well, we’re doing it again.

On Saturday and Monday both, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma will again open its parking lot for $5 parking or $10 parking and shuttle to the game. A shuttle will not be available after the game, however.

This time, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club will be the recipients of the money raised. So if you are looking for an affordable place to park and want to help kids at the same time, please park at The Salvation Army lot, located on SW 4th between Harvey and Hudson Ave. Parking begins at 6 p.m. both nights.