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Back-to-school: Oklahoma City-area churches offer hope, both spiritual and tangible

Oklahoma City-area churches use back-to-school season as an opportunity to offer help and hope to students and their families.
by Carla Hinton Published: July 28, 2012

Churches have long offered spiritual comfort and guidance, but they regularly give tangible help as well.

This is evident when children prepare to start another school year.

As students head back to class, several metro-area churches are hosting outreach events that combine school supply and backpack giveaways with health screenings, haircuts and festive presentations.

Victory Church recently held its annual back-to-school outreach events at several Oklahoma City Housing Authority complexes, giving away 1,300 backpacks and school supplies, along with hot dogs, snow cones and popcorn, plus fun with inflatables and water guns.

The Rev. Jed Chappell, the church's outreach pastor, said the outreach was one part of the church's ongoing effort to aid and get to know the residents at the Oak Grove, Sooner Haven and Ambassador Court housing complexes.

“We've built some solid relationships here, beyond handing out a sandwich, beyond handing out a backpack,” Chappell told about 250 volunteers who gathered July 21 at the church, 4300 N MacArthur.

“I just know we are making an impact in our community.”

Presenting help, hope

Meanwhile, People's Church is planning its largest outreach yet, called “Day of Hope,” on Aug. 4 at school sites in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

OKC Faith Church will host its 10th annual “Feeding the 5,000/Impact 5,000” on the same day, with special guests Oklahoma City Thunder mascot Rumble the Bison and AcroDunk, one of the NBA's popular halftime acts.

Brian Rush, creative director at People's Church, said the back-to-school season is an opportune time to share the love of Christ in practical ways.

“I think for a lot of people, life can be a world filled with not much hope,” he said. “Of course, we believe the hope of the world is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We feel the Gospel is very tangible, so we love people, and we want to show them that we care about them.”

Rush said identical “Day of Hope” activities will be at Millwood High School's field house and Midwest High School. He said backpacks and school supplies will be given away, plus free groceries and haircuts. Rush said single mothers will be given vouchers for a free oil change. The events also will include health screenings by volunteer doctors and nurses.

Rush said the church, now at 800 E Britton Road in Oklahoma City and 351 N Air Depot Blvd. in Midwest City, has extended a helping hand to various schools and school students over the years but this year wanted to make an even bigger impact.

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