Like most of you, I complain about what I don’t have. There’s never enough money to take a trip to Paris. (Maybe I could swing Paris, Texas. Maybe.) I really ‘need’ a bigger pantry and I really want a three-car garage. I wish I could afford to send my kid to private school. I haven’t bought new clothes in ages.
But wait. Hold the phone. That last paragraph needs to be construed a whole different way. I’m fortunate that I have a house, even though I have a smallish pantry and a standard garage. I own the car that I could drive to Paris (Texas) if I wanted. My kid goes to a school that we pay for, and I get bummed out about my lack of willpower when I shop for clothes, so I mostly prefer not to do it.
We all need to take a minute to be grateful for what we have, right here, right now. I had the opportunity to visit several local charity organizations in Claremore last week, and it opened my eyes to all of the issues that are facing a whole group of Rogers Countians right now.
I’ve always tried to be a charitable person, which comes along with being an adult, right? But I also had the mindset of, “I don’t have much extra, so I’ll wait till I get a raise or win the lottery. Then I’ll give more to the needy.” And that’s wrong. I heard a speaker last weekend who said something like, Don’t think about where you WANT to be and what you can do when you get THERE; think about what you can do with what you have NOW, while you’re HERE, in this place.
Let me give you a brief rundown of what I mean. In a building just north of the Rogers County Health Department on 88 is the Rogers County Adult Daycare and Rogers County Youth Services. The adult daycare is geared toward adults who can’t be on their own, but don’t need to be in a nursing home. The clients have developmental delays, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and all sorts of other ailments. The daycare provides them a place to socialize and have a good time. Volunteers are always needed. For more information, call (918) 341-7588.
In the other half of the building is the youth shelter. Children and teenagers are housed from all over the state, usually for a 30-day period, while their parents deal with their issues regarding…whatever. Substance abuse, legal troubles. Every situation is different, obviously. The facility holds six. Just six. There are currently five teens living in the facility, because it’s always good to have an extra spot available for an emergency. After their month is up, if the kids can’t go home to their parents yet, they typically get sent to another shelter. The shelter has a comfortable living room area, with a couple of couches and a television. There is no internet and no cable, so they spend a decent amount of time watching movies. Patricia, the “group mom” so to speak, likes to have a basket of toiletry items for each child that arrives, so they have something to call their own. Because of that, they are always in need of decent toiletries. (I say ‘decent’ because they’re usually teenagers. They have a reputation to uphold, you know!) Youth Services is currently in need of combs, hairbrushes, travel-size shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes and tampons. Personally, I would also like to see contributions of some fun stuff, like more movies, board games, things like that. For more information on Rogers County Youth Services, follow them on Facebook or call Patricia at 918-341-7580, ext. 1.
Another organization that tugged at my heartstrings was The Manger, Emergency Infant Services. Operated by the Presbyterian church, The Manger provides food and clothing for children up to five years of age. Parents can receive items six times per year. The first visit is done on the honor system; they don’t need any proof of hardship. The others must have documentation from DHS or WIC. The Manger serves those who haven’t quite made it to their next paycheck. Or maybe their WIC supplement is coming on Friday, and it’s only Tuesday. Maybe this one got to me because I have a toddler, and the thought of him going with an empty belly makes me want to cry. I went home and gathered up his outgrown clothing, then hit the grocery store and took a donation to them on Friday. The Manger is located at 114 E. 4th Street, adjacent to the Presbyterian church. Volunteers are available to take donations on Monday and Wednesday from 12 – 3p and Friday from 9a – 12p. They are currently in need of the following:
Evenflo Harnessed Booster Convertible Car Seats
Girls and boys size 2T and 24-months clothes (winter is coming!)
Diapers (sizes 3, 4, 5)
Formula (Gerber Good Start)
Canned items: soup (chicken noodle and tomato), green beans, corn, tuna, fruit cocktail
Macaroni & cheese
Cheesy Tuna Helper
Spaghetti and spaghetti sauce (canned Hunt’s with meat)
Peanut butter and grape jelly (18 oz)
Apple juice (64 oz)
Baby food (stages 1 and 2)
Baby wash and lotion
Generic brands are totally okay, with the exception of formula. Personally, I went to Warehouse Market and was able to get quite a bit without spending a lot of money.
There are several other non-profit organizations that need help from the community, but this is getting pretty lengthy, so I’ll spread them out for you. There are some that I didn’t even know we had in town, like Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army. Also, the gun museum is always in need of greeters. We will also be adding those who need volunteers on our website, so if you have the urge to go out and do some good with your time or your money, you’ll know where to go.
Holiday projects like the Angel Tree are great, but there are so many who need help all year-round. Hopefully the saying that knowledge is power is true in this case, and we can help by sharing this knowledge with all of you.
Just a note: canned veggies are .58 each at Warehouse Market, and mac & cheese is even less than that. Even five bucks worth can help. If every family took $10 each month and bought some goodies for their favorite organization, we as a community could turn things around.
Keep it local, Claremore.
-MCM Staffer Ashley,
who isn’t quite off her soapbox yet, but is running out of room in this post