EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: As a public service to our community, this is the third in a series of six weekly articles for the annual Edmond Sun Christmas Samaritan Fund Drive benefiting the HOPE Center of Edmond.
Volunteers leave the HOPE Center of Edmond knowing they’ve done something worthwhile that day.
Edmond children need not suffer from the stark cold of winter because of HOPE Center volunteers like Natalie Heng. Children are tucked under bedtime covers provided by the HOPE Center of Edmond. Families receive temporary assistance for clothing, utilities and medicine. Prenatal care is provided to expectant mothers who may otherwise not be able to afford assistance.
“If you can’t give financially you should consider volunteering your time because it’s easy and it’s fun,” said Heng, a senior at Oklahoma Christian School. “You get to know people here and you get to make an impact on your community at the same time.”
Heng was spending her fourth day at HOPE Center. She likes seeing the clients there choose clothing for their families.
HOPE has 12 full-time employees and 6-8 workers at the clinic, store and center. The center’s weekly volunteers organize clothing donations. They also assist clients when receiving clothing, bedding and household items. Food room volunteers help place items on shelves or in boxes ready to go.
“I volunteered for this to get community service but also because it’s fun. You’re actually doing something that makes a difference,” said Jordan Clark, an Oklahoma Christian School senior.
Clark said she also has volunteered for U R Special Ministries and that it feels good to see the smiles that families get when getting clothes at either pantry.
Leslie Shuck was busy organizing clothes on her first day volunteering at the HOPE Center clothing pantry.
“It feels really good because I know I’m really blessed, so it feels really good to help others that aren’t as blessed to have a good Christmas,” said Shuck, an OCS senior.
There is always a need for volunteers to work in the clothing closet, said Cheryl Woods, volunteer coordinator. “This time of year we’re especially busy and it’s important that we really go through the incoming donations and make sure we’re finding the very best items to place on our clothing room shelves.”
Nearly 200 volunteers devote their time to HOPE Center on a weekly basis, Woods said.
This year’s goal of raising $160,000 for the Christmas Samaritan Fund Drive was set to provide more than one-third of the HOPE Center’s $400,000 annual budget, said Brenda Chambers, financial coordinator.
“The HOPE Center is a unique community collaboration that serves a number of individuals and families in a number of ways,” Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said. “During this season of giving, we commend the contributors and volunteers of the HOPE Center who through true acts of service provide Oklahomans with not only necessities, but also the life-giving virtue of hope.”
Reception volunteers will greet clients and answer phone calls so clients will feel comfortable and respected, said Chris Sperry, executive director.
“We get (Boy) Scouts who want to earn their Eagle project for us,” Sperry said.