‘All ... have a story'
King was raised on a dairy farm near Tulsa, where hard work and generosity were values instilled in her from an early age.
She earned two degrees in education and taught English at Bishop McGuinness High School in Oklahoma City.
She also joined a convent where she was known as “Sister Pauline.” She later worked for the nonprofit organization Neighbor For Neighbor, where volunteers assist low-income residents with food, medical needs and educational tools.
In 1972, she married. Her husband, Bill, was a pastor and later an electrician for the state. They live in Oklahoma City.
King, who never had children of her own, said she has learned valuable lessons from the babies and their families.
“Some of them are apologetic when they come in, some are hesitant to ask for help, but all of them have a story,” she said of the mothers.
King said the colorful walls and bright smiles at the center help boost the morale of those seeking help.
“When people are down and out, it's uplifting to be in a place that looks nice where people don't judge you,” she said. “They get their diapers and formula but also their spirits are lifted just by the way they are treated here.”
Lykins said about 1,000 babies a month are helped at Infant Crisis Services. More than half of the volunteers are seniors.
“As long as I'm physically able to continue volunteering here, that's what I'll do,” King said.