Story and images provided by The Junior Service League of Stillwater
The Junior Service League of Stillwater (JSL) and the Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency (COCAA) have joined together to continue their mission to assist local families during the 2017 holiday season and launch The Operation Christmas Store. Operation Christmas, coordinated by Stillwater JSL and COCAA, through donations from the community, provides food, clothing and toys to families in need by giving them a unique shopping experience. For many years, the two organizations have worked with the community to create a festive and happy atmosphere for all qualified families during the holiday season.
“This is a fantastic program because the families themselves contribute by engaging in community service to earn the opportunity to shop for their children”, said Claire Edwards, 2017 Operation Christmas chair. Claire is in her 7th year serving with JSL. Of all the events organized by JSL, Operation Christmas is her favorite because of the impact it has on the families during such a special time of year.
Brandi Harris is the Community & Resource Development Coordinator for COCAA. She looks forward to working with Claire, “I am so thrilled to be partnering with JSL for this program! One of the services Community Action is designed to provide is to partner with other agencies in the community to fill the gaps in service. There are about 25% of households in Payne County that fall below the poverty line. For me, it is super important to help this population, many of whom are working, sometimes multiple jobs, to try and provide for their children. This is one way that we can help alleviate some of that pressure, and ensure that as many of the children in Payne County as possible have a great Christmas. COCAA is super honored to get to be a part of Operation Christmas.”
Donations of new toys can be dropped off at the COCAA offices (410 S. Lewis). Office hours are from 9-4 (closed for lunch). Please call Brandi Harris at 405-624-2533 for inquiries and to schedule a drop off time. Monetary donations can be made payable to Junior Service League of Stillwater, mailed to P.O Box 561, Stillwater, OK 74076. Toy donations can also be dropped off downtown at Showplace Market, Food Pyramid, Gameday Sports, Frontier Realty, Kicker, Dollar General, and Tricia Carpenter Insurance. Check the JSL Facebook page at facebook.com/StillwaterJSL for further info. Collection dates are November 13 through December 1.
If you’d like to sign up to shop at the store, you may do so by calling Brandi at 405-624-2533 on Tuesdays or Thursdays between November 1 and 17 during office hours.
The Operation Christmas Season wraps up with the Stillwater Christmas Parade to be held on December 7 at 7:00 p.m. The Parade benefits Operation Christmas. This year’s theme is “The Gift”. The entry fee for the parade is a $25 cash donation or a toy of equal value. For more information or for entry and sponsorship forms, contact Collett Campbell at 405-747-4817 or email [email protected].
ABOUT THE JUNIOR SERVICE LEAGUE OF STILLWATER
The Junior Service League of Stillwater is composed of young women who have a heart to meet our community’s needs in a variety of ways. Since 1984, the group consists of around 50 women who meet monthly and serve on committees to execute educational and charitable community missions through volunteerism.