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2016 Annual Report

Staff and Volunteers participate in Poverty Simulation Training

Earlier this month, many of our staff and volunteers took part in a “Poverty Simulation Training” put on by the OSU Extension Center. Participants took on Acknowledgment roles of various family groups and had to provide for them over the course of a month, (made of 15 minute “weeks.”) As unexpected expenses added to the stress of paying for utilities and groceries, many of our families found themselves having to prioritize which bills to pay, struggling to provide the weekly groceries, or even having to seek shelter when they were unable to make the rent. The walkthrough simulation was an important reminder about how many variables can hinder a family from escaping poverty, even when helping organizations are there to assist. Child care, unexpected illness, and transportation difficulties were just some of the situations that compounded into greater frustrations and stresses as each family tried to provide for themselves.

Lorena, who works with us as a Translator in our Immigration Legal Services, said of her participation, “I felt so stressed out being a college student and having a part time job, having a 1yr old son, and not having enough money to pay for child care…”

Another staff member shared her own real life experience, saying, “I was in a very bad situation when my husband lost his job, with 3 children, 2 of them teenagers.” While she was able to get through that hard time with the help of family and friends, many clients don’t have a network of friends or families with the power to help.

MaryLynn Lufkin, Director of Eastern Oklahoma Outreach reflected on the training and said, “I took away from this activity a new realization of what our clients go through…this simulation reminded me that there are many circumstances that people who are in poverty and struggling have to deal with on a daily basis.  They have issues with not having transportation, low paying jobs, or no jobs, no family support, health issues, time constraints, not having enough money to take care of their families’ needs,  having to wait in long lines, and a host of other problems. This causes a lot of frustration, feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, failure, stress and anger.  Many are downtrodden when they come to our Centers and campuses for help.

With all this in mind, try to show a little more love, because that might be the only bright spot in someone’s whole day.  Try to help them in a timely manner, because they probably have time constraints and need to get somewhere else to get their families’ needs taken care of.  Please treat them as if they were your own family member – and that can help us go the extra mile.  We really are blessed in our various roles, because we have opportunities every day to actually be Christ’s merciful love to those who suffer.”

Grieving mother heartbroken over broken urn

Recently, a distraught young woman came to Catholic Charities for food and clothing assistance. When she shared her story, it was revealed that her child died shortly after birth. The infant’s remains were cremated and placed in an urn gifted to her from the hospital. Later, the child’s father became angry and damaged the urn. When the woman shared this story and the hurt could be seen in her eyes, Catholic Charities was pleased to be able to supply her with a brand new vessel to hold the remains of her beloved child. We thank all those who support Catholic Charities as we strive to be Christ’s merciful love to those who suffer. Your donations, time, and prayers are what help us provide way more love, hope, and help to our clients when they are in need. Our prayers go out to this young woman and all grieving parents.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

Catholic Charities has these current volunteer needs…are you a match? Contact Volunteer Engagement at 918.508.7124 or ukinzer@cceok.org. We’d love to hear from you!

Emergency Assistance Front Desk (Bilingual preferred) – Monday 9am to 2pm

Morning ESL Teachers (2 needed) – Classes are Monday & Wednesday from 8:30am to 10:30am

Evening ESL Teacher – Classes are Monday & Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm

Refugee Resettlement Drivers (beginning August 30th through December – Catholic Charities vehicles provided – volunteer may choose one shift or multiple shifts)
• 2 drivers needed on Wednesday & Friday mornings from 8:45am to 10:45am
• 2 drivers needed on Wednesday & Friday afternoons (schedule TBA – approximately 2 hours per day)

Warehouse Receiving – Volunteers must be able to handle heat and cold conditions and some lifting

Food Pantry Help (stocking shelves, packing food, etc.)

Like to talk on the phone? Mission Advancement needs friendly volunteers to make thank you calls to our donors

Do you enjoy data entry? Mission Advancement needs detail-oriented volunteers to help with database upkeep

Sallisaw client receives wheelchair as fast as a golf cart!

Meet Harvey. He’s been a client of our Sallisaw Helping Center for a long time. Last year, he had to have his leg amputated, and our Catholic Charities helping center was able to connect him with a wonderful woman, Belinda, who volunteers with us. Belinda is a great resource in helping clients with equipment for disabilities. She helped Harvey with his first wheelchair last year, and a men’s group built him a ramp.

Recently, his wheelchair became too worn out to be of use. Belinda worked with the Mid-America Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans to secure Harvey a brand new, motorized wheelchair. It goes as fast as a golf cart, turns on a dime, has lights front and back, and a horn!  The seat reclines forwards and backwards and will lie all the way down, if needed.  It’s ‘finger-tip’ controls allow Harvey to drive with ease. He does not have any transportation, so a wheelchair is a must. Upon receiving it, Harvey said, “‘Thank you so much, this is far out!”

We depend so much on the generosity of our Eastern Oklahoma community and fellow helping organizations to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in need. Thanks to all who donate to Catholic Charities, those who volunteer at any of our helping locations, and those who get to know and advocate for our clients to help them receive the assistance they need.

Learn more about Eastern Oklahoma Outreach.

Poteau woman helped with hearing aids

LindaWe met Linda last fall through our Poteau Helping Center. She desperately needed hearing aids, but did not know where to look. After working with her to research several leads and writing referral letters, we found a place that could help her. She finally received a set of wonderful hearing aids! We were so excited for her.

We ran into Linda recently, and she was thrilled at how well she can hear these days. She thanked us very much! We love what we are able to accomplish for our brothers and sisters in need when our generous Eastern Oklahoma community comes together through Catholic Charities and other helping organizations.

Learn more about our Eastern Oklahoma Outreach.