State Surplus empowers Oklahoma nonprofits at Surplus and Save event, making a big impact on communities
By Christa Helfrey
Oklahoma State Surplus welcomed over 160 deal-seekers to its two-day Surplus and Save event on July 5 and 7 at the historic Jim Thorpe Office Building, which is currently undergoing renovations. Attending individuals and organizations were able to purchase a variety of office furniture and equipment from the state at discounted prices, ultimately affecting thousands of Oklahomans through the nonprofits and businesses that will use these items to support their missions and give back to their communities.
“This event was a great opportunity to get word out about State Surplus and our new First Access program,” said Programs Coordinator Rebecca Watson. “In today’s economic climate, surplus items are a valuable resource for smaller organizations looking to make a big difference without a big budget.”
Anyone can buy from State Surplus through the online GovDeals public auction website. However, the First Access program gives priority to registered Oklahoma nonprofits, school districts, state agencies and other government entities, who can purchase what they need before those items are available to the public. The estate sale-style Surplus and Save event provided both opportunities in person, offering a special First Access sale on Wednesday, July 5, before opening the sale to everyone on Friday, July 7.
Among the First Access attendees was BJ Gilliam, who operates the Harbor, a residential care facility in Oklahoma City that provides a safe, clean and nurturing place to live for veterans and non-veterans suffering from chronic mental illness.
Gilliam said the Harbor purchased a large amount of furniture from the Surplus and Save event, including tables, chairs and filing cabinets, which enabled the facility to update office spaces and totally redo its dining room. Most notably, staff got creative by converting three- and four-drawer wooden filing cabinets into dressers and nightstands in residents’ bedrooms, providing more comfortable accommodations for the Oklahomans they serve.
“The residents have been thrilled with the new updates, and it's made a big positive impact on their daily lives,” Gilliam said. “I can't express how much of a blessing this has been. It would have taken us years to afford to make this big of an upgrade for our residents. Our budget is always tight with all of the things that we need to provide for the residents, and this event has really made an enormous difference for our organization and our residents. I can't thank Becky and OMES enough."
While the Surplus and Save event is over, organizations like the Harbor can purchase surplus items they need at any time. Interested entities should visit the First Access webpage to learn how to request membership at no cost.
Additionally, Watson said her team will hold a similar in-person sale event on Thursday, Aug. 24, at the State Surplus warehouse. Keep an eye out for more information, and email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.