2011 school supply drive:
Total families helped: 934
Total children served: 2,395
By Jeff Jaynes, Director, Restore Hope
Mary, our front-desk supervisor, has helped for years with the school supplies program at Restore Hope Ministries in Tulsa.
On the first day of the distribution this year, "we were packed," she said.
That day a line of people surrounded the building. We helped 203 families, with 492 boxes of school supplies. Happy faces exited our building all day!
Our caseworkers were busy throughout the effort. Because they saw so many people, individual stories didn’t always stand out. But later a surprised caseworker received a thank-you card in the mail from Susan.
"I appreciate your ministry," the card began. "This was the first time I received from your ministry. My girls were so blessed; everything they pulled out of their boxes was on their supply list. This helped me as a single parent and cut down on these costs. Thank you again and may God return unto your ministry 100-fold!"
Kelly, a mother of eight, asked on Facebook where she could get school supplies. A friend referred her to Restore Hope. She came in with her eighth-grade son, Seth, on that first day of distribution.
Asked what he would tell those who donated money or supplies, Seth turned to me and said, quite seriously, "Thank you."
Alice, one of our caseworkers, called Amber, a single mom with nine children, to tell her we could help with school supplies.
Alice said, "She screamed like she just won something from the radio! She was so happy." When I spoke with Amber, I found out why. She had been able to manage her family life—pay rent, buy food, etc. But she was laid off in May.
"I didn’t want to ask for help," she said.
She did ask God, however. She prayed for help, she said, to restore her faith. She was still waiting for God’s answer when a friend told her to call Restore Hope. Yet even after Alice told Amber we might be able to help with rent, she "still didn’t believe." Only when that help was confirmed, by phone call from Alice, then Amber realized she got an answer to her prayer.
"You can’t tell me what God can’t do," she declared. "I was overwhelmed. God was working through [Alice]. I was so happy!"
That’s what we’re about here at Restore Hope: helping families in ways that just might help them take the next step to economic and spiritual vitality. That’s what they hope for, and we are working every day to restore that hope.
Restore Hope receives Apportionment support and other gifts from Oklahoma United Methodists.