Shop local. It is important – keeps our small retailers in business, allows our sales tax dollars to flow back into Edmond, and funds important city services like police, fire and the cleanup after an ice storm. But have you ever stopped to think about your charitable donations? Do you keep these dollars local?
It’s no surprise that one of our major industries is going through a slump. We have seen boom and bust before, and one result is that corporate charitable donations drop. Business cuts donations to keep employees – and I am glad employees are the priority. That leaves it to the rest of us to look around for organizations that help Edmond, and need our help. It leaves us to write the check and donate a few hours.
Several worthy groups come to mind. Fine Arts Institute is a home-grown organization that lets our children explore their “inner artist.” Not all scholarships and costs are covered by the price of a class – they rely on our dollars. I still have some artistic treasures made by my sons at the Fine Arts Institute.
The Hope Center helps families when they are in dire circumstances. They help with clothing, food, health care, and other basic needs. This Edmond organization acts as a “clearing house” for families in need, and refers them to other organizations when Hope Center cannot meet their needs. They work collaboratively with groups all over the metro to help with individuals and families at risk. The Hope Center uses community volunteers to collect items and disburse them to families in need, but these volunteers can’t do it all. The Hope Center needs our dollars.
Mobile Meals provides warm food to our Edmond residents that are homebound. Young or old, we become our most vulnerable when we are sick, homebound, and don’t have family or friends that can help. When I volunteered to deliver meals, I spent a morning taking food to our senior citizens, and was so rewarded by the experience. One lady was sitting in her chair when I arrived, and when I sat her meal in front of her, she told me her arm hurt. She said her daughter was at work, but that she had fallen. Mobile Meals sent help – and her arm was broken. Sometimes, you deliver more than a meal.
And last, but certainly at the top of my list, is UR Special Ministries. UR Special was founded by three Edmond women, one of whom was my mother. These three ladies decided to get brand-new clothes for school-aged children. Nothing used, nothing torn. They wanted new clothes so all children in Edmond could start school with confidence. That first year, they clothed 30 kids in back-to-school clothes. Now, UR Special has clothed more than 30,000 Edmond children, and has expanded to let these kids pick from a selection of new clothes three times a year – back-to-school, Christmas, and the Easter. In the winter, kids get a new coat and extra underwear. In the fall, they get new shoes. Volunteers walk these very special kids thru the warehouse and let them pick something that would make them feel good about themselves. Not just clothes, but a dose of self-esteem and a dap of joy to these young lives.
There are other groups. Pick one. As you enjoy your warm home, with a tree full of gifts, remember that the reason for this season is the birth of a Savior who gave everything.
Patrice publishes a regular column in Edmond Life & Leisure which covers everything from politics and culture to family. She is also a regular guest host on KWTV’s Flash Point.