The Edmond Sun

December 20, 2013

Single mom says HOPE Center a true blessing

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: As a public service to our community, this is the fourth in a series of five weekly articles for the annual Edmond Sun Christmas Samaritan Fund Drive benefiting the HOPE Center of Edmond.

Every dollar given to the HOPE Center of Edmond goes a long way to help people experiencing an acute emergency.

“We are grateful for anything — just the support people show us,” said Chris Sperry, executive director.

Domestic violence, divorce, child abuse, disease, disability, unemployment and homelessness have been the main reasons people seek temporary assistance at HOPE, a nonprofit agency.

Single mothers make up HOPE Center’s primary client base. Balancing work with education and child care can become overwhelming for single mothers supporting themselves and their children, Sperry said.

Julie Rios, 34, is a single mother going through the process of divorce. She has two associate’s degrees.

Rios left her studies at the University of Central Oklahoma and her work with Clinique Cosmetics to care for her five boys and daughter at home. Her children range in age from 2-15. One of her children is disabled.

Rios said she was without support and turned to HOPE Center after the Edmond Police referred her there.

“I was surprised. They immediately took me in and talked to me and really reached out to me,” Rios said while preparing for a job interview at a bank.

“They didn’t have prejudice towards me or look bad upon me. They just were welcoming, supportive and kind,” Rios said.

HOPE provided her daughter with a birthday doll. HOPE didn’t have to reach out to her with counseling, but they did, she said. One of her children has food allergies, so the HOPE volunteers let her choose the items she needed.

“They gave me flour and that was just really, really helpful. I do a lot of cooking from scratch,” Rios said.

Rios said she appreciates the community support of the Edmond Sun Christmas Samaritan Fund Drive. All of the proceeds from the annual Edmond Sun Christmas Samaritan Fund Drive will allow the HOPE Center to keep up with an increase in clients qualifying for emergency assistance. This year’s goal is to raise $165,000.

Sperry said it is amazing that people are generous, willing to take care of their neighbors when money is tight.

“I am blessed with wonderful children and they were so loving and appreciative when we got food in. It was like Christmas time,” Rios said. “The residents of Edmond are amazing to really want to help someone in need.”

TO LEARN MORE about HOPE Center, 1251 N. Broadway, visit or call 348-1340. A volunteer application form is available at the HOPE Center website, HOPE Center is open Monday through Thursday and office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday hours for clients are from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Donation hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The office is closed the last week of December and first week of January for client services. HOPE Center will be open for donations only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 26- 28, Dec. 30-31, Jan. 2-4. It will be closed Jan. 1. HOPE Center reopens for all services           on Jan. 6.