|Cheering on the Putnam City West High School football team are members of the Perspectives Sunday School Class from OKC-Church of the Servant. From left: Nancy Whitten, Arlene Keim, and Helen and Alven Lawson.
The Perspectives Sunday School Class at OKC-Church of the Servant learned from their teacher about the struggles of Putnam City West High School football players in Fall 2010.
Teacher Sandy Jensen is the mother of John Jensen, who is the school football coach. Sandy said team members were undernourished, their families were in economic distress, and the players relied heavily on the school meal program to sustain them.
Immediately, the class of about 12 people began donating food and money for a small pantry set up by Coach Jensen.
And as they began telling others about the hunger issue, what they had sown grew into a plentiful harvest of support that continues today.
A TV station reported the Perspectives’ initial effort. Soon more food donations to the pantry arrived—even truckloads sent by other teams. A Texas team donated its year-old uniforms and shoes; many PC West players did not have cleats, and the school’s colors renewed the uniforms.
Now the Regional Food Bank makes regular distributions at the school. An unused building on the grounds was converted into a large pantry. A local Rotary Club has given funds to the school to help address the hunger needs.
More recently, TV’s "Ellen" show donated $25,000.
The Perspectives maintain their connection to the team. They purchased Braum’s and McDonald’s gift cards for the boys at Christmas each year, so team members could have access to food during the holiday break.
"What a blessing this has turned out to be," said Perspectives member Bill Whitten. The coach and four players spoke to the class one Sunday. "This was very moving for our class and a definite ‘God’s wink’ for all of us."