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?

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