“This is our village, we call it our village,” said LOVE OKC Coordinator Sara Bratcher while describing her group’s event Saturday at the old John Marshall High School.
LOVE OKC partnered with Convoy of Hope and many other community volunteers to provide the community with $1 million in goods and health care services all free of charge.
“We have community services and health services that are doing dental work, and Walgreens as well doing flu shots and blood pressure checks,” Bratcher said. “The dental is doing first-come, first-served teeth pulling and fillings.”
Tammie Cross, of Oklahoma City, said she heard about the event on television.
“I’m going to get the dental and vision check,” she said.
Trevon McClure was directing people into the health services tent. A member of Heartland Church in Norman, he said, “My church normally does volunteering, outreach activities, and that’s how I got here today.”
Bratcher said there were more than 1,600 volunteers helping at the event.
The National Breast Cancer tent provided education for women about breast cancer.
“It’s a great organization,” Bratcher said. “If you qualify there age-wise and financial-wise, then you will be treated, free mammograms, and if they find breast cancer you will be treated until you’re well.”
Erika Zuniga, of Oklahoma City, was standing in line to enter the National Breast Cancer tent.
“I heard about this from my parents,” she said. “I’m just checking it out, I’m curious. This whole thing is very interesting to me.”
Zuniga said she received a phone call from her daughter’s school, Northwest Classen High School, letting people know there was a bus shuttle system from all the local high schools to the event site. A phone tree system was set in place by LOVE OKC at all local schools to inform families of the event.
“We have family portraits; you can come and have free family portraits,” Bratcher said.
Standing outside of the portraits tent were two volunteers from Victory Church in Oklahoma City — Wes Berlin and Danny Welch.
“I like to volunteer, so I showed up today,” Welch said.
Next to the portraits tent was a tent for haircuts. Anyone could receive a free haircut from local hairdressers simply by taking a number and waiting for it to be called.
Gena Taylor, of Moore, attended the event with three of her children.
“We came to this tent first, to get my kids’ hair cut.”
And there was food and entertainment.
“We have our entertainment section and food services,” Bratcher said. At the food tent, people could pick up a free lunch of hot dogs, chips, cookies, water and coffee. The food was provided by a variety of donors.
Food tent team leader Chris Harris said more than 40,000 cookies were donated.
Event organizers also provided food for the soul.
“Across the fence we have our kids’ zone, next to our kids’ zone is our connections tent where people can go for prayer if they need it,” Bratcher said.
LOVE OKC purchased 70,000 pounds of groceries from Convoy of Hope’s warehouse in Springfield, Mo., which equaled about 5,000 grocery bags of food for attendees to take home.
Convoy of Hope Outreach Director Darwin Boston worked with Bratcher about nine months to organize Saturday’s event.
“Convoy of Hope started a 50 State Compassion Tour in May with a goal of arriving in all states and major cities within to feed citizens through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches, disaster response and partner resourcing,” Boston said.