Oklahoma faith communities are familiar with storms and the resulting needs that are painfully present.
In the aftermath of tornadoes and severe weather that wreaked havoc in some cities across the state, several churches and faith-based organizations opened their doors to provide for those experiencing loss.
The Rev. Kim Hayes, senior pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Chickasha, said he wouldn't have it any other way.
Hayes said he serves as a chaplain for the Chickasha police and fire departments and the Grady County sheriff's office. He said he didn't hesitate to volunteer his church building at 226 S 29 when the need arose for an emergency shelter in the area.
“That's our calling,” Hayes said. “We're on this Earth to give to others.”
In addition to providing shelter for storm victims in the Grady County area, Hayes said the church's youth group volunteered to serve as cleanup crews in neighborhoods blasted by Tuesday's outbreak of tornadoes and severe weather.
Hayes said many of the churches in Chickasha, including First Baptist Church of Chickasha and Chickasha Church of Christ, joined in the effort to support families affected by the storm.
Other churches and faith organizations that opened their doors as emergency shelters or provided assistance in other ways included Surrey Hills Baptist Church in Yukon and the Salvation Army's Canadian County Service Center in El Reno.
Linking cart, inventor
I put two and two together this week after learning about an interesting project being conducted in conjunction with Jewish American Heritage Month in May.
The designated month is a way to celebrate the contributions that Jewish Americans have made to American history, culture and society.
Many people know that an Oklahoman invented the shopping cart, but perhaps they did not realize that Sylvan Nathan Goldman (1898-1984) was Jewish. As part of the Jewish American Heritage Month's 2011 initiative “50 States, 50 Stories,” Goldman's story is being distributed across the nation.
A self-service grocer, Goldman realized he could provide better service and sell more groceries in his Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain in Oklahoma City if his customers had the means to carry more merchandise. His other inventions besides the shopping cart included the grocery sacker, the folding interoffice basket carrier, the milk bottle rack and the baggage carts now seen in most every airport in the world.
Jewish American Heritage Month originated in 2006, when President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be designated as a time to celebrate Jewish American contributions to the nation.