On Tuesday, central Oklahomans will have an opportunity to support an organization from which they hopefully will never need services. All day, the S&B Burger Joint location at NW 59 and May will donate 10 percent of sales to the Senior Law Resource Center.
The center provides free or low-cost legal assistance to seniors, typically those whose income is at or below the poverty line.
In Oklahoma, many senior citizens have no family nearby and can’t afford legal assistance with things such as wills, end-of-life planning and estate planning. This can leave them vulnerable to ill-willed people who take advantage of their lack of resources.
“It’s disturbing what some people do to our elders,” said Sarah Stewart, executive director of the Senior Law Resource Center.
In Oklahoma, 70,000 seniors live below poverty level. Currently, the Senior Law Resource Center helps about 700 seniors each year.
“There’s a really big need out there,” Stewart said. “We hope that we can one day meet that need across the state.”
In addition to wills, estate planning and such, the organization helps the half-million Oklahomans who act as caregivers to someone over 50, according to the AARP, and to grandparents needing guardianship help while raising grandchildren.
The Senior Law Resource Center also offers publications and presentations to educate the public on issues such as advance directives, adult guardianship and Medicaid.
Founded by Catheryn Koss in 2006 (she recently retired), the law center is funded in part with donations from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, the Oklahoma Hospice Foundation, Greenwood Canyon Bass Foundation and Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation.
The majority of funding is from donations, which are desperately needed, Stewart said.
The organization has had to scale back on its educational functions, such as mailing educational publications to clients.
AT A GLANCE
Senior Law Resource Center
In addition to financial donations, the Senior Law Resource Center needs items such as a table for the boardroom and office supplies including paper and toner, said executive director Sarah Stewart. For more information or for a wish list of needed items, go to www.senior-law.org or call 528-0858. Volunteer attorneys also are needed.