Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Will Oklahomans respond to the tragedy unfolding around us with the same compassion as they do in the aftermath of a tornado?

Tragedy is often followed by remarkable examples of mercy and human kindness.  Such is the case with the loss of life and injuries to many in Stillwater, Oklahoma this past weekend.  As an Oklahoma State University graduate, albeit from the last millennia, there was a connection to the hurt experienced not only in the university and town but throughout the state.

But the state responded.  People responded. Help in all forms, including monetary donations continue to flow in. Oklahomans always respond to cases of great need; except that we don’t always respond.
There is great need all around us.  In Beckham, Custer, Roger Mills, and Washita Counties, people are being evicted from their homes, are living without water and electricity, and have survived the summer with no gas.  Winter is coming and the gas will become more important.

The tragedy doesn’t light up the media like something that involves 4 deaths and dozens of serious injuries.  Those events catch our attention and often we respond, but when a family’s income gradually withers away, it often goes unnoticed.  When a job is lost, then the bills are not paid, then the rent is four months past due; few take notice of this.

In most cases, these are not what the world would call “deadbeats.”  These are people who barely made it working two minimum wage jobs and now they are down to a single job or none at all with prospects for more work not very promising.  They have not given up; they just can’t catch up on their own.

There is some help from various government agencies, churches, and from a place that few people know helps a lot of people in all four counties—the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center.  The center helps with bills and food, medical and dental, and provides life counseling to not only meet an immediate need, but to help people get back on their feet and be productive.

The services are free to those who need them, and yes there is a screening process.  Yes, those who meet with applicants do know how to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves in doing benevolence work amidst a culture in which panhandling thrives. 

Many people might think, “I’m barely making it.  How can I help somebody else?”

The answer is that you are making it.  You still have a job, income, and somehow are blessed enough not to be lining up for free food and medical care. 

You still have a business and people are still buying your products and using your services.
You can still count yourselves among those who are blessed enough to help.

Help is exactly what the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center needs right now.  November 10th is the annual fundraising dinner.  What is raised here will be budgeted across all of 2016 to help those in need.

What is needed?  The center needs $100,000 to continue to provide a full array of services for the year to come.  This year benevolence help often ran out mid month and some were turned away.  Many were helped but some were turned away.

If you would like to donate and help your neighbors, please call (580) 225-5500.  If you would like to know more about this faith based, board governed, donor sponsored organization, please purchase a ticket for the Fall Fundraiser to be held on 10 November 2015 at the Elk City Civic Center.  Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

There is a human tragedy unfolding around us.  Are you concerned enough to help?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I keep hearing about this WOFCC. What is it? Why should I care?

I don’t know much about the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center, but what I have heard is good; well, except the part about needing more money.  That’s a little sad.

It would only take a little from each person to help those in the community who can’t keep their heads above water.  I think I want to give something but want to know a little more.

Great!  Here are two things that will help.

First, visit the website.  It is simple but explanatory.  You will find that it’s more than just help with bills and food.  There is a medical and dental clinic and a pharmacy.  Wow!

And here is the thing that might just get you to the point where you say, “Yes!  I want to be a part of that.  I want to donate money or time or something else.”

What’s the thing?  The WOFCC doesn’t just give out money.  There is a process that involves meeting with people about their relationship with God, godly living—especially in the area of budget, and getting a plan to get out of poverty.

Most effective ministries embrace this concept:  We meet people where they are.  Very effective ministries are not content with throwing them some help and leaving them there. 

The WOFCC is this community’s compassionate ministry and has its sights set on leading people to a better life.  The Family Care Center helps people in need now with the goal of seeing them become productive and contributing citizens in the future.

Second, come to the WOFCC fundraiser on the 10th of November.  A ticket is only $25.  If you go to a political fundraiser, those tickets are $2,500 and you have to listen to a politician.  Tickets to the WOFCC fundraiser are only $25 and you can meet the board members and other donors in the community and see for yourself that the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center is something that is calling you to donate, volunteer, or otherwise participate.

Where can I get my ticket?

Tom Spence will be at Christi’s Thrift Store on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. selling and signing his books to support the WOFCC.  He will have tickets with him.

You can also stop by the WOFCC and purchase a ticket there.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The right job for the right person; is it you?

Seeking Executive Director for faith based nonprofit that serves the needy in 4 western Oklahoma counties. Public relations, fundraising, communication skills essential. Must be technology savvy. BA required. Substantial experience in fundraising and public affairs may be considered in lieu of degree.
Grant writing a plus. Salary negotiable. 

Candidate must have a strong faith and desire to serve the Lord. Pay range for this position is reasonable but part of the director’s compensation will be the fulfillment of a calling to serve “the least of these” in our own communities.

The position is for the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center, Inc.. Follow link to read more about the organization:

Send resume to

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Please visit the WOFCC table at the Burns Flat Celebration this Saturday

The Burns Flat 60 Year Celebration will have a table manned for the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center.  The center helps people in need in Beckham, Custer, Roger Mills, and Washita Counties.  Services are free to those who need them but rely on the generosity of the community in recurring donations and fund raising events such as this.

Volunteers will be at this event to help raise money for the center.  Why do you need to raise money for “free” services.

Answer:  The services are provided at no cost to those who need them, but there is a cost—a significant cost.  These “free” services can be provided because of the people of the community with compassionate hearts.

The WOFCC staff leverage every dollar received and produces $1.41 worth of services.  Now that’s a return on investment that you just don’t see these days.

Here are some raw numbers:

Western Oklahoma Family Care Center Benevolent Assistance Rendered   As of September 30th, 2015 The total benefit to our clients and patients in 2014 exceeded $281,000.  Based on our income for the same period, that translated to $1.41 of benefit for every $1.00 of income we received.

Hope Dental Clinic   (Since April 15th, 2011) Total market value of free services = $459,010 (12‐month average = $103,927) Total visits   = 1,594 Total sessions  =    233 Total patients  =    584

 Hope Medical Clinic (Since January 3rd, 2012) Total market value of free services = $457,998 (12‐month average = $124,909) Total visits   = 2,289 Total sessions  =     466 Total patients  =     653

Financial Assistance (Since April 2007) Total Financial assistance provided: $307,043 Total households being monitored   = 1,603 Total individuals in households   = 3,661 (51% of individuals are children)

Predominant household characteristic:   Single (mostly with children):       29%   Age 30‐49:     48%     Caucasian:  77% Female:             71%   Renting their home:   58%

Visits for most recent 12 months: Total Visits = 403 New Clients   = 157 Follow‐Ups   = 30
 New Issues   = 216 Dollars Spent for most recent 12 months by funding source: Clothing/Household    = $  1,915 (Christi’s Bazaar) Rent/Emergency Housing = $     265 (Monthly donors) Travel Assistance    = $  1,467 (Monthly donors) Utilities     = $26,686 (Monthly donors, Salvation Army) Pharmaceuticals    = $     588 (Monthly donors) DLO Labs     = $  4,381 (Monthly donors) Total for previous 12 months = $35,302

Why is there a table at a Burns Flat event?

Pastor Tom Spence of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Burns Flat noted that only last week he referred 4 families to the center for financial assistance and talked with two others that recently received medical or dental help.  That was just in a week.

Some people think that they need to retreat from charitable giving because times have gotten tougher.  Many who still have jobs have taken pay cuts, but all are asked to count their blessings one more time and see if there isn’t an extra $100, $250, or more that could be given to help those who have lost jobs or can’t afford the “affordable” health care options.

If you can’t afford to help in these amounts, please buy a $25 ticket to the Fall Fund Raiser to be held on 10 November 2015.  Tickets to this event will be available Saturday.

Now is the time for those who still have an income to have mercy on those who do not.  The WOFCC is a faith based nonprofit organization that has served many in the Burns Flat and Washita County areas.  Whether it continues to serve will be based upon your compassion and generosity.

More opportunities to help the WOFCC:

It is time for the 2015 Fall Bruschetta Bash--WOFCC edition

Bruschetta Bash?  What in the world is that and what is it all about?

Bruschetta, sometimes spelled bruchetta and with other variations as well, is Italian bread soaked in olive oil and then toasted with Genoa Salami, Provolone Cheese, a variety of peppers (sweet not hot), sliced tomatoes, onions, and topped with an occasional olive slice.

If you are anywhere in Burns Flat, Oklahoma on Thursday 23 October 2015, all you need to do is follow your nose.  It will lead you to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which is just north and east of the town’s only traffic light.

Bruschetta sells for $5 an order.  An order consists of 3 scrumptious pieces.  Bruschetta will be delivered to schools and businesses in Burns Flat.  Deliveries will also be made to those who are unable to come to the church to pick up their order.  All other orders need to be picked up at the church.

Pre-paid orders are guaranteed.  Walk in orders on an as available basis.  Tickets will be sold at the town celebration this Saturday or you may stop by the church and get tickets from Tom.

Why is someone cooking Bruschetta?

This is a fundraiser to help the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center.  The center helps people in need in Beckham, Custer, Roger Mills, and Washita Counties.  Services are free to those who need them but rely on the generosity of the community in recurring donations and fund raising events such as this.

Tom Spence has been cooking bruschetta for the past several years in order to help the church youth group, to raise money for missions to Africa, and now to help the WOFCC.  

This is a win-win for western Oklahoma.  You get to enjoy the unique taste of Bruschetta and help your neighbor at the same time.

23 October 2015
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
205 State Highway 44

Burns Flat, Oklahoma 73624

Book signing set for 24 October at Christi's

Locale author and Western Oklahoma Family Care Center board member, Tom Spence, will be selling and signing his books at Christi’s Thrift Store on Saturday, 24 October 2015.  Tom will be present from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

He will have a variety of books published through Createspace,’s publishing branch.  All titles will be $5.00 and all proceeds go to the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center.  Additional donations are always welcome.

Tom will also have tickets available for the Fall Fundraiser to be held on 10 November 2015 at the Elk City Civic Center.

Tom is an ordained minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the pastor of the congregation in Burns Flat, Oklahoma. 

As a pastor, he recently returned from his second trip to Africa to train pastors and church leaders in Kenya and Uganda.  He has served as moderator of the Red River Presbytery but perhaps is best know as the guy who gives out wristbands that read:  GOD LOVES YOU – LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

He is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer that served in all four Marine Divisions, including a tour training reservists.  He has served in Iraq and Kuwait, Japan, aboard Marine bases on the east and west coasts of the United States, and has a substantial amount of service afloat.  His final tour was as a program manager in charge of maintenance and modifications of Marine Corps ground training systems and simulators around the globe.

He served as both student and instructor at the Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia—the Crossroads of the Corps, and proudly boasts that he successfully avoided a tour in the Pentagon for his entire career.  Tom wrote two books specifically about the Marine Corps.  The first was a first person collection of observations and anecdotes titled Sea Stories.  The other was Christianity for Marines.

Here are some links to other titles by Tom Spence.

Please join Tom on Saturday, 24 October 2015, buy a few books, purchase tickets to the WOFCC Fall Fundraiser, and take a look around the store for bargains on things that you just can’t live without.

Christi’s is located at 110 S. Main in Elk City, Oklahoma.

Book Signing by Tom Spence
Christi’s Thrift Store
110 S. Main
Elk City, Oklahoma
Saturday, 24 October 2015
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.