Smiling faces make it all worthwhile.
That is what the volunteers with U R Special Ministries say keeps them coming back to help each time the organization has a free, new clothes give-away to children who are eligible.
“U R Special Ministries exists to foster self-esteem and healthy lifestyles in needy and at-risk children,” said Stuart Graham, president of the U R Special board. “We do so by providing new, one-of-a-kind outfits of clothing and a new pair of shoes for the children of Edmond who are eligible and distributing to them three times a year. As Edmond grows there is more need for service jobs and the working poor have less to spend for some of the necessary items.”
Graham said the goal of U R Special is to send the children away feeling confident about what they are wearing when they show up for that first day of school.
“It is about self esteem and self confidence,” Graham said. “Our volunteers engage the children and our emphasis is on the child and what their choice (for clothing and shoes) is.”
His wife, Darsi Graham, is the director of U R Special.
More than 110 volunteers will be working three-hour shifts during the two-day distribution that began at 10 a.m. Friday morning. U R Special will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday.
One of the three founders, Linda King, was on hand Friday. Of the two remaining founders, Claudette Dills passed away recently, and Donna Watson has moved to Branson where she is still involved in volunteering.
Volunteers are always needed to help sew the dresses for the little girls and monetary donations are always helpful when purchasing the shoes and winter coats as well as jeans and T-shirts for the children.
“When we first started all of the dresses were hand-made, although I took care of the organizational part of the program,” Linda King said.
U R Special draws on everyone’s talents. Some work the clothing and shoes distribution, some power shop and some buy items like old shirts at garage sales and cut off the buttons to repurpose them.
Volunteers of all ages are needed. Junior high students are not too young to start, and King’s mother-in-law is the oldest volunteer with the program.
“At 106 years old she is still knitting house shoes for the children,” King said. “We have high school students who came through as young children and have come back to help as volunteers.”
King said she spends a lot of time before the clothing and shoes distribution praying.
“We have been doing this for 20 years, and in the 160 times that the free give away of new clothes and shoes has taken place, it has only rained twice,” King said laughing.
Patterns, fabric and notions are supplied by U R Special for the seamstresses, and the remnants are given to the Oklahoma City Quilters to make small Christmas stockings which are in turn brought back to U R Special to give to the children.
“Our pay-off is the smile on the children’s faces,” King said.
To qualify for U R Special the child must be between the ages of 3 and 9 for the clothing distribution, be a resident of Edmond or attend an Edmond school and be part of a family that falls with a low/moderate income bracket under HUD guidelines.
U R Special relies on donations to fund its ministry. A donation of only $150 annually will clothe one child. U R Special is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization under applicable IRS rules, so gifts to U R Special are tax-deductible as charitable donations.
U R Special Ministries Inc., is at 25 W. Third St., Edmond. For more information call 340-2799. Donations may be made online with PayPal.
Back-to-school clothing distribution helps children
Smiling faces make it all worthwhile.
- Local News
Touchmark residents give ‘thumbs up’ to new YMCA
Senior citizens from Touchmark bundled up, braved the cold and the icy roads this week and traveled to the Edmond YMCA Recreation & Aquatic Center at Mitch Park on Covell.
The tour group was one of more than 100 that have been guided through the new facility to show what will be available when it is finished. This $22.5 million facility is a joint project with the the Edmond School District, the City of Edmond and the YMCA.
Joining the group and donning hard hats were Touchmark residents Ellie Lottinville, Judith Harris, Jimmie Cook, John Wayant and Richard Newville along with Carla Scull, Touchmark’s director of life enrichment, and Jesse Walls, driver.
Guthrie-Edmond airport looks to upgrade
The Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport board was told Tuesday by officials from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission that GERA is in good shape but work needs to continue to help maximize everything the airport has to offer.
The board was given a presentation by OAC director Vic Bird and Dale Williams, OAC planning division manager about the state of the aviation industry in Oklahoma and how airports the size of GERA are faring.
AAA: Teens report ‘TWD’ significantly less than adults
High school-aged teens report using their phones or texting while driving substantially less often than adults do, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
While the public often cites teens as being the most common offenders, a recent survey found that adult drivers ages 25-39 were the most likely to admit engaging in these risky behaviors behind the wheel.
Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, said young novice drivers, who are especially susceptible to distracted driving crashes, are using their phones while driving less than older drivers.
AAA to offer free Tipsy Tow rides
Before climbing behind the wheel after drinking at a holiday party, AAA Oklahoma hopes you’ll think again and call them for a free Tipsy Tow ride home for you, your vehicle and one more person.
“Over Christmas and New Year’s, up to 40 percent of all traffic crashes involve alcohol,” said Edmond resident Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “But motorists do have options: Use a designated driver, serve non-alcoholic mocktails at parties or call AAA for a Tipsy Tow.”
Paycom plans HoliDazzle event to benefit Warmth 4 Winter Coat Drive
Paycom has teamed with News Channel 4, The Salvation Army and Rotary Club of South Oklahoma City to host HoliDazzle, a free event at Remington Park on Thursday to kick-off the annual Warmth 4 Winter coat drive.
Parents and children are encouraged to bring a new or gently used coat from 3:30-7:30 p.m. to help ensure that every child and adult stays warm during Oklahoma’s harsh winter months. Those who contribute are encouraged to enjoy an afternoon of holiday fun with train rides, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa and cookies.
Lilyfield reschedules ‘Dunks for Diapers’
Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care has rescheduled its Dunks for Diapers event.
Lilyfield holds a diaper drive with the Oklahoma Christian University Women’s basketball team to benefit foster children. Anyone bringing diapers, wipes or new baby items for ages 0-24 months will gain free admission to the women’s game versus Lubbock Christian University, which will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Eagles’ Nest on the campus of Oklahoma Christian in Edmond.
“This will allow us to give foster families much-needed necessities when they receive placement of a foster child. Often placements happen with little notice and the child may come into a foster home with nothing but the clothes they are wearing,” said Holly Towers, executive director of Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care.
Twitter reacts to Time's Person of the Year
Time has announced its Person of the Year for 2013: Pope Francis. The announcement, seen live on the "Today" show Wednesday, generated immediate reaction on Twitter. Here is a sampling.
Cold impacts Edmond businesses, city services
Roger Seaton is operating manager of Edmond Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing, 3104 South Kelly Ave., owned by the Seaton family since 1970.
On Tuesday, for the first time in days, the temperature in the Edmond area rose above 32 degrees. At 2:53 p.m. Tuesday, the temperature was 41 degrees at the Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport, surpassing the predicted high of 34, according to the National Weather Service.
Seaton’s business offers plumbing services including water line work and repairs to faucets in the kitchen and bathroom. When it comes to plumbing calls, pipes that burst are a priority, Seaton said. It takes a while for pipes to freeze, he said, and residents began calling by Friday. Calls during the cold spell were both about frozen pipes and pipes that had burst.
If you have no water coming out of a faucet, shut off the water upstream and open cabinet doors to get warmer air circulating around pipes, Seaton said.
School back in session Wednesday
Parents are heaving a sign of relief while some students aren’t going to be quite as happy.
“All classes and activities will resume Wednesday in Edmond Public Schools,” said Susan Parks-Schlepp, director of public information and community involvement. “Slick spots remain and buses may be running a bit late but secondary roads are in much better shape after significant thawing.”
As reported earlier, students will not be making up the four snow days taken off from school this past week.
Kelly widening project progressing
Work progresses smoothly for the Kelly widening project, City Manager Larry Stevens said before the City Council this week. Road work began in July about 1,000 feet north of Covell and continues north to a point 350 feet south of Coffee Creek.
Duit Construction/TTK Construction is in charge of constructing a four-lane divided roadway with left turn lanes at all public streets along the project on Kelly going from Covell to Coffee Creek.
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