By David Austin
This past December, we had the opportunity to join up with one of UCORA's Crawl 4 Christ supporters, Elite Jeeps of Oklahoma City and join them on one of their many outreach ministries they do throughout the year. Owners, Chris and Reg Valerius, work all year setting up these outreach events with the sole purpose of helping others who are less fortunate.

We met up with Chris and Reg at the Elite Jeep shop so we could begin assembling bags to hand out to the homeless in downtown Oklahoma City. The collected/donated items were placed in a line so we could begin an assembly line to stuff the bags. The bags were stuffed with things like hoodies, stocking hats, gloves, socks, toothpaste and brushes, combs, scarfs, shoes, and other personal need items.

Members of multiple Jeep clubs joined in to help stuff the bags as well. Those that were there had the heart to serve and were ready to help make a difference to the homeless during the holiday season. Volunteers had been gathering these items throughout the year and even bought items in bulk if they found them on sale. Donations were collected in many ways throughout the year so this event would be successful.

Together we stuffed approximately 200 bags with the donated items, after which, we loaded them up into vehicles and departed in a convoy to a designated location. We setup in the West Reno area of Oklahoma City and as soon as we arrived to setup, we had people lining up to receive their bags. We got the opportunity to visit with folks while we handed out the bags. The homeless were thrilled with the items they had received in the bags but, I think more than the bags, they appreciated that someone took the time to come visit them and showed that they cared about them. Once the traffic began to slow down, we moved over to a location closer to one of the shelters.

As we continued to pass out bags at the new location, a lady had come to us with the soles of her shoes completely worn off; they were only covering the tops of her feet. One of our volunteers sat down with her to determine what size of shoe she wore. Unfortunately, we didn't have any shoes available in her size, so another volunteer ran up to a local Dollar Store to purchase a few pairs of shoes. When he returned, the lady with the tattered shoes was able to put on her brand-new pair of shoes and instantly went dancing in the street. As she was dancing, she exclaimed "And today is my Birthday!"

Going down into the streets of the less desirable parts of town and mingling with the homeless can be a little frightening, but it is this sort of moment that tugs at you heart. It's difficult to see kids and older folks having to endure the elements and manage without the comforts of a home that we take for granted on a daily basis.

We want to express our gratitude to Chris and Reg of Elite Jeeps and the rest of the volunteers that took the time to put a little sunshine into the hearts of the less fortunate. We were touched by this event and it made us think that we were only impacting one small area of Oklahoma City and there are so many others in need all over the world.

If you are involved in ministries in your area, we want to thank you for helping make a difference. If you are not involved anywhere, we would encourage you to seek out a place or find an opportunity where you can help make a difference in somebody's life.

God Bless,

Okie Out