Seeing the smiles on clients’ faces as they drive around to the back of the HOPE Center to pick up their food order is what Bill Green likes best about volunteering there.
“I get to see the children, they don’t know what they’re doing here, but they know it’s good because they see mom smiling, and maybe mom doesn’t get to smile too much these days but she is today,” Green said with a smile of his own as he described what he does every Wednesday morning.
Green heard about what the HOPE Center does for Edmond and Arcadia residents through a local church and began volunteering about four years ago.
Green is one of about 200 HOPE Center volunteers.
From the food distribution to the clinic to the resale store, this nonprofit social service agency has been aiding community members for 30 years. Executive director Chris Sperry said it was founded by members of the Edmond Ministerial Alliance who wanted one place where churches could work together.
“That was the vision and that is how we started,” Sperry said. “We wanted to take care of our neighbors and that is actually what HOPE stands for, Help Our People in Emergency.”
The center provides food, clothing, utility and rent assistance for people who have lost their jobs or find themselves suddenly without resources to take care of their own bills.
The clinic offers prenatal care for pregnant women, and there’s also a Women, Infant and Children (WIC) clinic that provides nutritional education for women who are pregnant or have children up to 5 years of age.
Celebration of HOPE
In celebration of the HOPE Center’s 30th anniversary, a first-ever gala is set for 6 p.m. March 29 in the Nigh University Ballroom at the University of Central Oklahoma.
“We’re so excited,” Sperry said. “We thought this was an anniversary that needed to be marked and so we’re having an auction and dinner at UCO in their ballroom.
“We have all kinds of fun things people can bid on. We have a wonderful band so that after the auction and dinner we’ll have dancing and we’re really looking forward to just a fun celebration of our anniversary.”
HOPE staff members have sold 410 seats and have about 20 left. Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a table of 10. All proceeds go toward the center to give back to the community.
Sperry said they normally only have one fundraiser a year and “this, although it is a fundraiser, is more just a celebration.”
The HOPE Center is also selling $100 tickets for the HOPE Home, which is being built by McCaleb Homebuilders in Town Square, on Danforth between Coltrane and Sooner.
The HOPE home will be about 2,500 square feet with a media room, three-car garage, outdoor kitchen and much more.
Sperry said she is proud of the center’s growth. She thinks the average life for a nonprofit is five years.
“Who knew this would last this long?”
It would not have been possible without donor and staff support, she said.
Green agrees. “Edmond, by a lot of people, is thought of as an affluent community, well it is, but it’s also a community with a lot of need,” Green said. “People don’t broadcast when they’re in need, they’re not going to tell you they’re hungry and the kids don’t do that when they go to school either and so it’s here.
“I’m very glad that people are generous enough and they’re aware.”
For more information about the anniversary or how to volunteer, go online to http://hopecenterofedmond.com or call 348-1340.