Fifteen years ago, a desire to give northwest Oklahoma City residents a tangible grasp of God’s love led schoolteacher Marilyn Denson to begin Reaching Our City Church, which grew into the nonprofit Reaching Our City a short time later.
Last year, the nonprofit reached more than 65,000 residents from its main campus at 7710 NW 10 through a handful of services including a food bank, after-school program and free health clinic.
The organization is in a transitional period as its leaders evaluate what services the surrounding community still needs. This transition has put the health clinic, day care and after-school programs on hold. However, the food bank, a weekly women’s lunch called the Vine and a thrift shop are still in service.
Even without half of its programs, the nonprofit is on track to distribute more than 800,000 pounds of food this year, serve thousands through the thrift shop and provide fellowship for almost 100 women every Friday.
At the root of the organization’s efforts is the Reaching Our City (ROC) church.
“That’s really where the seeds began,” Executive Director Richard Schneberger said. “We simply attempted to be a part of the community, to live in the community. Our question has been, ‘How can we tangibly love our neighbors?’ It’s out of that that a lot of our programs developed.”
He said love for the organization’s neighbors is not only its response to human needs, but an extension of what volunteers feel is God’s love and their obedience to Him.
“Everyone was created in the image of God and everyone has deep value,” Schneberger said. “We want people to understand that value. We understand in this broken world how easy it is for people to lose sight of that value.”
He said volunteers often offer prayer and fellowship to those who take advantage of ROC’s services, but people have no obligation to respond to this spiritual outreach.
“I think our ultimate goal is to see people connect to a faith community, but it’s not in any way a requirement,” Schneberger said. “We’re doing this because God called us to. But we feel like the best thing we have to offer to the community is Christ.”
To help or be helped
Anyone wishing to volunteer for ROC can go to serveok.org and use the database to search for opportunities. According to the ROC website, the nonprofit provides more than 10,000 hours of volunteer work each year.
All women are welcome to join the Vine, a lunch and fellowship opportunity. Schneberger said the conversation ranges from practical topics such as first aid to discussions of Scripture. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. Fridays at Western Oaks Church of the Nazarene, 7901 NW 16.
Anyone living in one of the 10 ZIP codes Reaching Our City serves can take advantage of the food bank from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2:30 p.m Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7710 NW 10. Schneberger said a form of ID and a piece of mail to confirm a home address is required.
The retail shop, 1212 N Rockwell Ave., is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. People are welcome to shop or donate clothing, furniture and housewares.
Reaching Our City Inc.