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
Edmond church to host free eye clinic
An Edmond church and Feed the Children are partnering to provide a free eye clinic.
Individuals will be able to receive a free vision test and free prescription eye glasses from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Waterloo Road Baptist Church, 3100 E. Waterloo Road. All ages are welcome and registration is not required.
July could be coolest in weather record books
With chances for soaking rains and unseasonably cool temperatures becoming frequent, a weather expert is increasingly convinced Oklahoma will end up with a historic July.
At mid-afternoon Tuesday, the National Weather Service forecast for Edmond called for the high Wednesday to be near 73 with a 90 percent chance of heavy rain, followed by the high Thursday near 78 with a 30 percent chance of showers.
Highs are expected to remain in the 80s into Monday.
Downtown Master Plan accepted by council
The 2014 Downtown Master Plan Study was accepted by a 3-0 vote Tuesday evening by the Edmond City Council.
Fort Worth-based consulting group Freese and Nichols presented their final update to the 1998 Downtown Master Plan. The city hired the group at a cost of $300,000 to make recommendations for future development of Broadway in the central business district.
“There are clearly some short-term (parking) options that we feel should move forward,” said Cody Richardson, of Freese and Nichols consultants of Fort Worth. “Better signage at existing parking lots.”
UCO forensic volunteer wants to aid more agencies
A four-person group of forensic investigators who volunteer their time to help smaller Oklahoma police departments isn’t enough to meet demand, a member said.
Kama King, who recently completed her graduate research and will be a member of the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute, said outside of full-time jobs, members of the group volunteer to assist these agencies.
As her career progresses, King hopes to help establish a permanently funded organization available to any agency in the state to assist in remains recovery as well as related training.
Lambrecht Construction to build office
The commercial site plan of a physician’s office was approved recently by the Edmond Planning Commission by a vote of 4-0.
Lambrecht Construction plans to build the office at 3917 E. Covell Road in the Fairfax Business Office, north of Covell and west of Sooner Road, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
More cameras monitoring Edmond motorists
The Edmond City Council this week approved a services agreement with Electronic Technology, Inc. For the installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems’ video wall system at a cost of $314,620. The vote was 3-0.
ITS is a fiber optic, wireless or hybrid communication system of monitoring road events and equipment in the field, data archiving and predicting traffic volume, said Kent Kacir, an engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
Shootout of a sale
An original article of the Wild West will be made available at auction Thursday. The rifle of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp will be part of the J. Levine Auction & Appraisal’s Summer Quarterly Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Earp was an Arizona deputy sheriff and deputy town marshal in Tombstone, Ariz. He is legendary for playing a key role in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He died in 1929 at age 80.
Wyatt Earp collector Barry Tapp of Edmond will be selling his 1895 Wyatt Earp Marlin rifle at the auction. The rifle has an estimated value between $50,000 and $75,000. It includes authentication documentation from Tombstone Heritage Museum, according to the auction house
UCO forensic researcher answers key question
After working a few human recovery cases on a volunteer basis with a variety of police departments, a question kept bugging Kama King.
“You spend the whole day,” the UCO W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute student said, “sometimes days, searching for someone and only find a skull or a few bones and it just ate at me. Are we not finding this or is it not there to be found?”
Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.
Peace through Business empowering women entrepreneurs
Peace Through Business is part of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) based in Oklahoma City. It is a program that connects small business entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda with business owners in Oklahoma. One such entrepreneur found out about the program from a friend, applied, and was accepted to take part in this year’s session.
Upon earning a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Universite de Sciences et Technique de Lille in Belgium, Lyliose Nduhungirehe began her career working for a construction company in Brussels, but she quickly switched paths to Information Technology.
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