Community collaboration keeps service first for Oklahoma families
Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) works to serve families in every community across the state, but much of this work would not be possible without the dedication and shared hearts of service of our countless community partners. Each day, these partners join our staff arm in arm to support and uplift children and families in their own communities, and help us identify and address individual community needs to remove barriers that could keep our customers from being successful.
Recently, one of our partners, Ebenezer Baptist Church and Pastor Derrick Scobey, who also ran a Community HOPE Center through Dec. 2020, felt called to offer continuous donations received from World Vision to benefit the families served by OKDHS, in addition to those served by many other state and non-profit agencies, local school districts and other ministries. The items donated are those that many of us take for granted – new shoes, toiletries, hair and skin care items, socks, bedding, home furniture and furnishings, just to name a few. But, for a struggling family, these items can make a meaningful difference or leave a little extra room in the budget to purchase more food or gas, or to pay a bill.
“Pastor Scobey has become a wonderful ally as we have aligned mission in transforming the way we serve our communities,” said Secretary for Human Services and OKDHS Director, Justin Brown. “His passion and commitment is inspiring.”
Scobey and Ebenezer Baptist Church know the importance of little luxuries, having served alongside prison ministries for many years by preparing individuals with the items they need for their successful return to the community after incarceration. Along with their statewide network of volunteers, Scobey and his church have also distributed more than 91,000 boxes of fresh food in the last year, serving more than 150,000 Oklahomans. They have hosted COVID-19 vaccination clinics, donated more than 2,300 pallets of furniture to community families, healthcare workers, OKDHS employees and countless others and have hosted health fairs to serve their community. For these, and other gifts of generosity, Scobey and Ebenezer were even recognized on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as “Hometown Heroes.”
“From the early 1970’s until 1985, had it not been for OKDHS, I do not know what my mother, sisters and I would have done,” said Scobey. “I truly do not know how we would have made it. Because of a chronic illness, my dear mother was unable to work. Through OKDHS, we received monthly $218, $120 in food stamps and were allotted payment for three prescriptions. Periodically our electric, natural gas and water would be temporarily turned off. There were so many who helped us in our times of need - my grandparents, other family members and friends, in addition to OKDHS. So, it has become my calling to serve, and to help others in their times of need. This is my reasonable service. This is the least I can do for those who are currently in the same spot my family and I were in more than 35 years ago.”
“I am grateful to Reed Slattery, National Director of World Vision U.S. Programs, and our entire World Vision family who serve tirelessly behind the scenes working to provide us with the support and resources for us to continue serving the State of Oklahoma at such a high level. Finally, I could not do any of this without help from the Good Lord, my loving wife Angela, Pastor Christine Byrd and the rest of our COVID-19 relief team, our Deacons, Trustees, Leadership, and our Ebenezer church family as a whole.”
OKDHS is thankful for the work of Scobey and Ebenezer, and for the HOPE they have provided to their community, as well as our customers and employees. We know our work would not be possible without partners like them.
“OKDHS cannot be successful in serving others without community stakeholders and agencies,” said Office of Community and Faith Engagement Administrator Karen Jacobs. “We can’t do it without their support and partnerships.”
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