By: Kaci Carpenter
So many of us know we are getting together with our loved ones this holiday season. We know we will have the best meals, a roof over our heads, and a kitchen to cook in. There are so many in our community who don’t have those same blessings in life. Have you ever wanted to do something small that has a big reward? Do you often wonder how you can contribute to those in need? Here are four amazing local organizations you can give to this Holiday season:
Loaves and Fishes
Loaves and Fishes has been a great resource for families in need for 10 years. In 2022 they partnered with United States Postal Carriers of Garfield County for a food drive that brought in over 24,000 pounds of food. Eisenhower Elementary School has been a great partner for Loaves and Fishes for the last four years. Eisenhower puts on a food drive every year from the beginning of October to the Beginning of November. The school makes a competition out of it between Pre-K-2nd and 3rd-5th grades. Last year Eisenhower donated over 550 pounds of non-perishable items. Eisenhower paved the way for the district to select Loaves and Fishes as the non-profit to donate to by all Enid Public Elementary Schools.
Loaves and Fishes is always in need of donations and volunteers. Donated items can be dropped off Monday- Thursday 8:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. Non-perishable items can only be dropped off after hours in their outside bin located at 701 E. Maine St. Most needed items include boxed mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, green beans, and frozen turkeys (must be USDA approved). If you are looking to volunteer please visit their website at LoavesAndFishesNWOK.org or email email@example.com.
RSVP opened its doors on December 3, 1981 and has continued to be an advocate for senior citizens and is dedicated to providing a voice for those in need. RSVP gives a place for Enid’s seniors to gather and play games so they can socialize and have a warm meal. RSVP also delivers meals to roughly 100 people every single weekday and delivers food boxes to 288 people once a month.
At the Senior Center, it is not about if a person is rich or poor, it is about making a connection. Most of their visitors are looking for friendships, people to have a conversation with, play pool or bingo or just have lunch. They have singles and married couples that range from their 60’s to 90’s. When some first come they may not interact or talk much but pretty soon they make eye contact, start to smile and begin coming earlier and leaving later because they have made that connection. It’s a powerful thing to see them grow stronger emotionally and physically.
The commodity box program is for seniors 60 and older. It provides a 40-pound box of food once a month to low-income seniors. If anyone is in need, they can call or go by the Senior Center or RSVP for an application. Another great program by RSVP is the mobile meal program. They serve approximately 100 people in our community. Meals are delivered on a daily basis Monday through Friday. The meals are $67 per month and there is a scholarship fund for seniors with financial hardship. For many, it’s the only hot meal they receive in a day. Also, the program provides the only personal contact that the client has all week. RSVP also provides transportation for seniors that need rides to appointments in town. The Senior Center also has limited transportation for those that would like to attend but do not drive.
RSVP is hosting a Thanksgiving Luncheon at the Senior Center on November 22nd. They would greatly appreciate all non-perishable donations. They want all their Seniors to have a Thanksgiving meal and to bring joy to their holiday season. They also want to have a Christmas gift for each of their seniors and would love gift donations. All donations can be dropped off at 605 N Van Buren or 202 W. Walnut. Volunteers are also needed year-round. Please call (580) 233-5914 or visit rsvpenid.org for more information on getting involved.
If you have ever been to the pumpkin patch on Randolph then you have been to Shepherd’s Cupboard. Shepherds’ Cupboard has been a staple in Enid for 25 years. In October alone they fed over 143 families on the first Wednesday of the month. The first and second Wednesdays from 9 A.M. – 11 A.M. Shepherd’s Cupboard hands out bagged groceries to families in need. They do their best to make sure all families are provided with enough items and do not have to go hungry. They also like to keep their pantry stocked so if someone finds themselves in need, they are able to bag up enough groceries to make it through.
Willow View United Methodist is their biggest contributor and makes a recurring monthly donation. Tyson Foods charitably donates a lot of its meat products but they still need donations from the community. Perishable and Non-perishable items can be dropped off daily at 2418 W. Randolph Ave. They have a large need for all canned goods. If volunteering is more your style, please visit https://www.foodpantries.org/li/ok_73701_shepherds-cupboard.
The YWCA has an amazing mission to help women survivors and their children. They help them to completely start over with all day-to-day items and food. Their goal is to start the survivors on a path of strength and dignity so when they do leave, they are confident in themselves and ready for their new start in life. The YWCA goes above and beyond to provide help and hope in the Enid community.
The YWCA gives back to the community in so many other ways. My Sister’s Closet is a free program for the community. If a family or person is finding themselves in need, this program can help them start over. The YWCA also provides a program for youth who need formal wear, shoes and accessories for events such as prom called Project Cinderella. The YWCA offers a free counseling crisis hotline that can be reached 24/7 at (580) 234-7644. Furthermore, the YWCA has an LPC and social worker on staff who offers weekly individual and group therapy free to anyone in the community. This is an asset to Enid as there is a surge in mental health crises during the holiday season. They also offer several other programs that can be found at ywcaenid.com.
The YWCA tries to make the holiday season as normal and beautiful as possible for the survivors. To do that, they need donations of all kinds. Any and all food items are always needed and appreciated for the communal kitchen the survivors and their families share. All hygiene products and clothing are needed as well. When donating clothing, the hope is for survivors to feel a sense of dignity and empowerment, so they like to offer women items in gently used or new condition. Gift cards to places such as TJ Maxx, Ross, Wal-Mart are another great option when donating, this gives the survivors the opportunity to shop for themselves and take back some control in their lives. Someone is always on-site at the YWCA to accept the gift cards. All donations can be dropped off at any time at their loading dock at 525 S Quincy St. Tax receipts are also available when they are checking the donations. Volunteers are needed in many different areas as well. Whether it be sorting food and clothes, being an advocate for the survivors, or general office work. Please reach out to their website or contact them at (580) 234-7581. It’s small choices that make big impacts on the lives of others. When you’re at the grocery store and see the turkeys in the freezer or canned goods on the shelf, consider buying an extra this time and donating it to Loaves and Fishes or Shepherds Cupboard. Walking around at Walmart gathering your weekly list, throw in a small gift for a Senior Citizen and donate it to RSVP. Ordering your deliveries online? This time, order a basic needs item and take it to the YWCA. This holiday season let’s take a moment to give back, nothing is too big or too small. Sometimes it is the items we take for granted that could change someone else’s life. This year I hope as a community we all have a Happy ThanksGIVING.