Jul. 22—Shared Blessings is gearing up to continue helping meet students' needs through its Student Needs Express.
"We're going to use the Student Needs Express to deliver items to schools," said Shared Blessings Executive Director Scott Walker.
Student Needs Express is the name given to the Ford Flex mid-sized SUV that will be used in the school project, made available through a partnership with Sam Wampler, of Freedom Ford.
Wampler, who is president of the Shared Blessings Board of Directors, said he is glad to help.
"I've been a part of Shared Blessings through its board," Wampler said. "We have a heart for kids and students, which makes for a great partnership."
Shared Blessings is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization with the stated purpose of meeting essential needs in peoples' lives, and especially in the lives of children, through the partnership of compassionate people across this area.
Walker said Shared Blessings works with approximately 20 schools in Pittsburg County. Its Nutrition Club is designed to make sure students facing food issues have enough snacks to make it through the weekend or other times when schools aren't in session, including during summer vacation.
"The Nutrition club is offered to every school in Pittsburg County," Walker said. He said the Special Needs Express program is an addition.
"This is an expansion," said Walker. "We're doing more and more."
Walker said the Special Needs Express will contain things such as school supplies, clothing, socks and undergarments, hygiene products, food and other needed items. Shared Blessings staffers will go from school-to-school to see if there's anything a student needs right then, he said.
"Shared Blessings believes that one of the most important solutions to ending generational poverty is for a student to stay on-track in school," Walker said. "One of the ways that happens is to make sure students have what they need on a day-to-day basis."
Shared Blessings has a method of finding what's needed.
"We work with teachers, administrators and counselors," Walker said. "When a teacher sees a need a child has, they reach out to us." It could be as simple as something needed for an activity. In today's technological world, it might even be assisting with a malfunctioning laptop.
"Or sometimes a school calls us about educational supplies," Walker said. "We're going to everything we can to meet that need."
His hope is the Student Needs Express will give Shared Blessings a more visible presence and a reminder assistance is available.
"We're trying to do onsite at the schools as much as we can," Walker said. "We believe by being onsite as much as we possibly can, more and more needs will be met, and they will not be falling through the cracks."
Wampler first became involved in Shared Blessings following an initial conversation with Walker.
"I think the first time we talked, Scott told me they were delivering some beds, and my heart went out," said Wampler. He's thankful there's a way needs are met through Shared Blessings.
"I love that," Wampler said.
Walker said Shared Blessings is glad to help.
"We have a compassion for giving away to the community for our children," said Walker. "We believe we can change a community through the hand of shared compassion."
Any individual, family, business or organization wishing to assist is welcome to do so.
"We love to partner with local businesses who would like to impact the community," Walker said.
Donations can be made online at www.sharedblessings.tv. or by mailing a check to Shared Blessings, P.O. Box 328, McAlester, OK; 74502. Shared Blessings' physical address is at 1155 S. Main St. in McAlester. Anyone needing to contact Shared Blessings can do by phone at 918-423-8624.
"Shared Blessings only does what it does through the community," Walker said. "Shared Blessings is all of us"
Wampler is especially enthusiastic about the Special Need Express.
"This is a great way to help multiple schools and the whole community," said Wampler.
"It's a match made in heaven."
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.