Article and Photos By: Brit Whittington, Oklahoma Conference
TULSA- Despite the sweltering summer afternoon sun, Sabbath, June 27, turned out to be a beautiful day as God’s people shared His love in caring service for their fellow man. Several members from at least 10 Tulsa area churches; our conference leadership; and the Tulsa Community Service Center (TCSC) board came together to dedicate the new TCSC facility. The new facility took 14 months of planning and hard work to remodel and pass Tulsa permit inspections, finally obtaining a maximum occupancy of 99 persons. It is now officially open to provide health, medical, optometry, legal, and spiritual services, along with cooking classes and a food pantry. TCSC hopes to provide dental services within the next year as well. Everyone at the dedication ceremony received a blessing listening to violin music from Sean Shin and AnnaRose Jones, an introduction by Elder Apple Park, prayer by Elder Carlos Portanova, an inspirational history of the center by Elder Park and Bill Carlile, and a motivating dedication sermon and prayer by Elder James Shires. Through the love of God, we were encouraged to love others and provide for their needs as if we were serving Jesus himself as described in Matthew 25:35-40.
The TCSC goal is to serve our community and its inaugural event to fully dedicate the center was a massive food giveaway organized by the TCSC board and the Go Fresh company. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Go Fresh company was awarded a $50+ million grant from the FDA to help farmers get their goods out. The farmers were unable to distribute their products to restaurants, schools, etc. that were closed due to the shutdowns. The farmers were going to lose their goods, lose money, and the people impacted by the closings also needed food. Go Fresh brought a truckload of 1,500 boxes of food, about 28 lbs. each, for a total of approximately 20.25 tons. Based on the cost of $34.97 per box, a total of more than $50,000 in free food was distributed to our community.
Our team helped stage rows of cars in an Office Depot parking lot, around the backside of Office Depot, and down 21st street to our new facility. Kids with signs on Sheridan and 21st street directed people into Office Depot to line up for the food giveaway. Others handed out questionnaires as the cars entered the TCSC lot. Another team retrieved the forms and directed them to the food distributors. We had eight teams of food distributors split into two rows ready to receive each car and give them a box of food and milk, one per family. The boxes contained potatoes, onions, lettuce, butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, half and half, and a carton of milk. With this arrangement, God’s love, and people willing to serve, we gave away all 1,500 boxes in three hours to many happy people in the Tulsa area. I witnessed great teamwork, loving hearts, hard, sweaty work, and smiling faces on both those serving and those receiving, which produced a blessing for all. We ask for your prayers and your physical and monetary support to continue to serve our community and hopefully expand our services.
The center is located just west of 21st and Sheridan streets at 2015 S Lakewood Ave, Tulsa, OK. For full details on services provided, how to get involved, or to stay informed about events, visit the Tulsa Community Service Center on Facebook.