Soup Kitchen Rededicated to reflect Mission and Long-Time Supporters

The Salvation Army of El Dorado’s Soup Kitchen received a new name recently during a re-dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.   

Murphy Red Shield Diner Lt Charles SmithFormerly known as the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen, Lts. Charles and Teri Smith proudly rededicated the newly-named Murphy Red Shield Diner in honor of its past 30 years of service offered to the counties of Union, Calhoun and Ouachita.

Lt. Smith opened the ceremony with a reading of scripture from Proverbs 24:3-4, “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”  Lt. Smith followed with “that can be said of this dining facility and also of our canteen. It’s been a blessing to serve this community.”

The renaming of the “soup kitchen” reflects The Salvation Army’s mission as well as honoring the long-time support of the Murphy family, according to a Salvation Army press release.

Wanda Ragsdale, a lifetime Advisory Board member and former Chair of the board, provided a brief history of the soup kitchen. In 1986, eight local churches came together in an effort to help the needy of El Dorado and offered their support to create the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen. “The power was there because God was blessing us,” she said. “And if God is for you then who can be against you?”   Ragsdale went on to say on the first day, 25 adults and six children were served.  On Wednesday before the rededication, 267 individuals were served.

During its 30 years of serving meals to the hungry of El Dorado, The Salvation Army has provided hope to thousands of men, women and children. In 2015, The Salvation Army served 124,559 meals and provided 6,935 nights of lodging. The meals and lodging are just a part of the services provided to over 18,400 individuals in 2015.

The Salvation Army would like to thank the Murphy family and The Murphy Foundation, Murphy Oil and Murphy USA for their contributions and generous support of the mission and work in El Dorado.

Bartlesville Music Conservatory Offers New Experiences

The Salvation Army of Bartlesville, Oklahoma hosted a special program throughout the month of June. Children from the Red Shield Club were invited to participate in a Summer Music Conservatory program every Tuesday and Thursday of the month, allowing children to get hands-on with a variety of musical instruments and lessons in the performing arts.

The program began the day with choir classes, teaching the children how to sing in unison and harmony. Mornings also featured a time where a volunteer from the Performing Arts field would come and showcase their talents, including classical music performances and even a cartoon voiceover artist.

During the afternoon, children were split up by grade level, ranging from Pre-K to 5th grade, and given breakout room assignments which rotated every 30 minutes. During these breakouts, the children were able to interact with instruments such as piano, guitar, saxophone and clarinet. However, if you ask any child what their favorite instrument at the camp was, it was almost unanimous: the drums.

The month long program culminates with two choral performances, the first of which will be held at The Salvation Army Corps for family members of the students. The second event will showcase the students on July 4th during the downtown festivities, singing patriotic songs such as “Fifty Nifty United States” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”

The Salvation Army would like to extend a very special thank you to OK Mozart, Everett Music Studio and the Bartlesville Symphony Players, all of whom donated their time and instruments to the Conservatory, making it available to the Red Shield Club students at no additional cost.

Jumbo Foods Donates 50 Box Fans in Enid

July 17, 2015 – (Enid, Oklahoma) The month of July commemorates Home Energy Aid Month, a time set aside to raise awareness about the growing need for utility assistance across the state to help keep families cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The Salvation Army, alongside its energy partners (OG+E, ONG & PSO) also make a special effort to generate donations specifically for energy aid assistance throughout the month.

One of the most immediate ways that The Salvation Army is able to help families stay cool in the summer time is to provide qualifying families with a brand new box fan. As a contribution to the Home Energy Aid Month campaign, The Salvation Army of Enid received a donation of 50 box fans from Jumbo Foods on Thursday.

“These fans couldn’t have come at a better time. Of the 50 fans that were donated, 20 have already been distributed to those who have come to our offices seeking relief from the rising summer temperatures. We are grateful to Jumbo Foods for this wonderful gift,” said Major Ernest Hull, commanding officer for The Salvation Army in Enid, Oklahoma.

For more information on how you can partner with The Salvation Army of Enid, please call their office at (580) 237-1910, or to make a donation today, please visit

Fayetteville Youth Participate in ‘Super’ VBS Event

FayVBS1The Salvation Army of Fayetteville, Arkansas recently hosted it’s Vacation Bible School for the youth of the Corps. An outlet to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the young people of Northwest Arkansas, the week long event featured faith based skits and teachings and musical worship.

On opening night, Corps Officer Lt. Josh Robinett presented a skit. In the story, two superheroes became stuck in quicksand. Once the heroes were freed from their entrapment, one superhero took decided to take credit for their rescue for himself, while the other superhero point out that without the grace of God, they could not have been saved. The presentation was an opportunity for the youth to hear the gospel message in a creative and entertaining way. FayVBS2

The event also gave the kids the chance to participate in games where prizes were awarded to those who participated. An array of snacks and drinks were also provided to the 70-80 youth who visited the Fayetteville Corps each night.

For more information on the youth programs of the Fayetteville Corps, call (479) 521-2151.

Canteen Ministry Launches in Stillwater

On the outskirts of Stillwater lies a neighborhood that is notoriously impoverished. There are not many homes within it, and its residents are in need of various types of assistance. Here, The Salvation Army of Stillwater was able to serve the needs of their own community. This neighborhood, which was suggested by the Homeless Caseworker of Stillwater Public Schools, was recently treated to an evening of food and emotional care.

The corps officers, Captains Knott, along with two advisory board members, loaded up the canteen and set up within the neighborhood, ready to serve those who approached. Each family who visited the canteen received a box with enough food to provide a feast. Inside the food box was a frozen chicken, corn, green beans, macaroni and cheese, baked beans and pumpkin pie, along with a box of cereal for the family to serve breakfast in the morning. While receiving the boxes, families with children were encouraged to sign their children up for the “Dress For Success” program, which provides back-to-school clothing at no cost.

Stillwater had been looking to re-launch its canteen ministries, but until recently did not have a canteen that was adequate enough to handle the program. Now able to drive through Stillwater with a recently refurbished canteen, Captain Patrisha Knott says that “serving this neighborhood is the perfect opportunity to engage the community through our canteen ministry.”

Car-Mart Delivers an Unexpected Surprise in Lawton

The Salvation Army is often the recipient of many unexpected surprises, and on July 2nd, Lt. Israel Roseno, corps officer in Lawton, Oklahoma, got a phone call that truly was a ‘breath of fresh air’. On the other end of the phone was Car-Mart, who told Lt. Roseno that they had recently held a box fan drive and that The Salvation Army was chosen as the beneficiary of the donations.

LawtonBodyExcited and grateful for their generous donation, Lt. Roseno got into a truck and headed down to the Car-Mart dealership to pick up the box fans. When he arrived, over 25 box fans were outside waiting to be loaded into the vehicle.

“This donation will allow us to extend our fan services for those dealing with high temperatures in their homes,” Lt. Roseno remarked on the acceptance of the fans. “Thank you Car-Mart for being a shield against the heat!”

The box fans will be distributed throughout the upcoming summer months, when people in Oklahoma are finding themselves in dire need of a cool air source, but cannot afford to pay the high price of running an air conditioner. For more information about how the fans will be distributed, please contact The Salvation Army of Lawton at (580) 355-1802.

Central Oklahoma Fan Drive a Success

Roc2During the months of June, July and August, The Salvation Army sees an increased number of people who look for financial assistance to pay their utility bills. Thankfully, The Salvation Army is approached by many businesses and partners who look to help provide relief to families who struggle to make ends meet during the summer months. In Central Oklahoma, there has been a partnership that has become an annual social event, held in the name of helping their neighbors ‘beat the heat’.

Roc3KFOR’s Scott Hines, Rococo’s Bruce Rinehart and the Bricktown Rotary association have partnered together with The Salvation Army to host an annual Fan Drive. Inciting the public with Chef Rinehart’s famous ‘cookies’, each person who comes to Rococos with a new box fan receives a coupon for the delicious appetizer.  During the four hour fundraiser, Scott Hines broadcasts live from the restaurant, encouraging the public to come out and participate in the event.

Roc1At the end of the day, 77 fans, along with $111 was collected. These fans and the funds that were received are added to the fans donated by OG+E, Westlake Ace Hardware, and other donors, and are given away to the elderly, families with infants, and the disabled.

For more information on the summer Fan Drive, please contact (405) 246-1060.

Lawton BGCA Kids “Eat More Chicken”

chick1The Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club in Lawton recently had the opportunity to ‘Eat More Chicken” thanks to a generous fundraising opportunity by Chick-Fil-A at Central Mall.

On select days in early June, customers at Chick-Fil-A were given the opportunity to purchase a sandwich that would be donated to The Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club. Throughout the promotion, over 100 sandwiches were purchased to help feed the kids a special lunch.

chick2Tuesday, June 24th, the kids at the Club were assembled in the gymnasium as they always are before lunch time. While the club director was giving instructions and announcements, a surprise visitor entered from the side of the room – none other than the famous Chick-Fil-A Cow. The children erupted in cheers and laughter as the cow made its way through the gym, high-fiving and posing for photographs with the kids. After the cow ‘meet and greet’, lunch was served, and each child at the Boys & Girls Club was served a hot Chick-Fil-A sandwich.

chick3The Salvation Army of Lawton would like to extend a special thank you to the Chick-Fil-A of Central Mall for their support and donation.

For more information about The Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club in Lawton, visit

OG+E Donates 200 Fans in Central Oklahoma

OGE1Oklahoma is no stranger to heat. However, with elevated temperatures come higher utility costs, adding a financial burden on many Oklahomans. This often leaves families with a difficult decision: pay for air conditioning, or pay for food and rent. More and more, the choice is to face the summer heat without a source of cool air. The Salvation Army wants to be a provider of relief to families who are facing extreme temperatures, and with the help of OG&E, we are able to provide a box fan for many families in need.

OGE2On Tuesday, June 24th, OG&E stopped by The Salvation Army’s Central Oklahoma Area Command with a very special delivery of 200 box fans to be distributed to those in need. Kathleen O’Shea, a spokesperson for OG&E, notes that “[OG&E] knows so many people struggle during the summer, so we are happy to partner with The Salvation Army by providing fans to those in need.”

OGE3Major Carlyle Gargis, Area Commander for Central Oklahoma, was on hand to receive the fans on Tuesday, and give thanks on behalf of The Salvation Army. “We could not help in this capacity without partners like OG&E,” says Major Gargis. “Because of [OG&E’s] generous donation, The Salvation Army is prepared today to assist families who are struggling in Oklahoma.”

For more information on the fan distribution, contact The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma at 405-246-1100.

A-OK Division Building ‘Bridges’


Bridges3The Salvation Army is known to many as a last-resort when it comes to paying utility bills, rent or other costly expenses that are incurred in today’s world. Looking to ease the need for people to search for financial assistance, The Salvation Army recently launched the Bridges Out of Poverty initiative to help people break the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. Picking up steam, The Salvation Army’s Arkansas & Oklahoma Division has launched the program in 12 locations, with several more scheduled to launch within the year.

Gaining the attention of local leaders and businesses, The Salvation Army of Shawnee, Oklahoma was recently the recipient of a $220,000 grant from the Avedis Foundation, specifically designated for the Bridges Initiative, which will be spent over the course of 3 years. The funding will allow The Salvation Army to hire a new employee that will be in charge of the Bridges Out of Poverty program in Shawnee, as well as cover the cost of as many trainings andmaterials as possible.

Excited about the launch of the program in his community, Lt. Philip Canning, Corps Officer in Shawnee notes that “the most exciting thing about it all is the realization that we’re bringing the whole community together to address real issues that people have known are a problem, but no one has been able to step up to the plate – and we’re going to do that.”


The Oklahoma Department of Human Services office has also noted the launch of the initiative within The Salvation Army’s Arkansas & Oklahoma Division, and recently recognized the Divisional Social Services Director Debbie Price as a community partner during the DHS Awards Ceremony. Her award was given in recognition of her work within Bridges Out of Poverty.