Five ways OMES shared holiday cheer this season
By Christa Helfrey
With the holidays upon us and a new year only days away, employees at the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services have embraced the spirit of giving and sought meaningful ways to support their community. Whether ensuring public employees receive their paychecks on time, connecting families with affordable health coverage or maintaining a secure data network for state employees to work safely from home, the OMES workforce makes service our mission daily. With the continuing pandemic and the suffering felt by many, our employees found opportunities to help fellow Oklahomans remember the reason for the season.
Information Services Administrative Assistant Vicky Simpson organized many of these activities and said she was grateful to play a role in the OMES holiday celebrations.
“Our employees stepped up to the plate to help feed the hungry, provide gifts for children and even give a bit of themselves through blood donations,” she said.
1. FOOD DRIVE
OMES employees participated in a food drive from Nov. 16 through Dec. 10, collecting items for the Regional Food Bank. Donations included needed food options like canned fruits and vegetables, soups, pasta and peanut butter. In total, OMES delivered 633 pounds of food to help those in need.
Additionally, team members from OMES Central Purchasing (pictured above) donated their time to help at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. During their afternoon of volunteering, the team boxed up 550 cases of food equaling 12,375 pounds – an estimated 10,312 meals.
2. ANGEL TREE
Seeking to bring holiday magic to young Oklahomans, OMES partnered with the J.D. McCarty Center to sponsor an Angel Tree as part of a program providing gifts to children with developmental disabilities. Participating teams adopted angels from the tree – each one representing a different child – and contributed clothes, toys and other items on their wish lists. The joint effort was a huge success, resulting in more than 20 angels adopted and wishes fulfilled.
3. BLOOD DRIVE
With the nation experiencing the worst blood shortage in a decade, OMES partnered with the Oklahoma Blood Institute on Dec. 16 to host the Bloodmobile at the Lincoln Data Center. Seeing the country’s critical need for healthy blood, OMES employees donated enough blood to impact approximately 50 lives.
4. CHILI AND BANANA PUDDING CONTESTS
OMES brought people together with food and friendly competition, as employees rallied crockpots, wafer cookies and appetites competing in a chili cook-off and banana pudding contest. Judges selected winners from the Lincoln Data Center and Will Rogers Building, for a chance to become the overall chili champion and ultimate banana pudding prodigy.
EGID Director of Policy Research Liz Luecke earned the chili award, and Information Services Compliance Specialist Michael Albritton won best banana pudding using his grandmother’s secret recipe.
5. INFORMATION SERVICES HOSTS UGLY SWEATER AND GINGERBREAD HOUSE CONTESTS
OMES Information Services employees wore their worst holiday sweaters and worked in teams designing and constructing gingerbread houses at the Lincoln Data Center. Teammates grabbed piping bags of snowy white icing, gumdrops and even a picture of Chief Information Officer Jerry Moore to win in one of three categories.
The team, Elves of Admin, earned Most Festive gingerbread house, while The Reindeer Roadies won Best Constructed and The Reindeer Resources was awarded Most Traditional.
It was everyone for themselves in the ugly sweater competition, however, Service Desk Technician Stephanie Ingram dominated in her sweater adorned with sequins, gift bows, pom-poms and googly eyes. Project Manager Kaci Allen scored second place with her Game of Thrones-themed holiday wear. Congratulations to the winners, and many thanks to everyone who participated!
“Out of a terrible pandemic, arose a new appreciation of all we have and all we have taken for granted,” Simpson said. “Hence, the outpouring of generosity and camaraderie demonstrated here at OMES this holiday season.”