By Devon Green
Chances are, you may not have heard of the Hope Center in Edmond. This unassuming operation is something that we all hope no one ever has to take advantage of, but many a resident of Edmond and Arcadia sleep much better (and more warmly) at night knowing that it’s a resource they can draw on.
The Hope Center is a nearly full-service facility, with a food bank, a clothing outlet and a medical clinic that caters to anyone who lives in Edmond or Arcadia and finds themselves in need of their services.
“We are a food pantry,” says Chris Sperry, executive director. “A family that comes in receives about 80 ponds of food, including fresh milk and vegetables. Our services are based on income – clients must at least qualify to receive SNAP benefits – and residence. They must live within Edmond and Arcadia,” she adds.
Sperry said in addition to groceries, there is a clothing room with gently used donations that clients can shop four times a year. The food pantry also stocks hygiene items, since those cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits. When someone comes in, they meet a volunteer and they fill out an order based on their household needs.
“We’ve been doing this a long time, and we try to make it so that when someone comes in, they can come in and be in and out in maybe five, ten minutes,” says Sperry.
The organization also helps clients with rent, utilities and prescriptions, and offers a full-service prenatal care clinic. Sperry says the WIC clinic and the food pantry must work together to treat the nutritional needs of the whole family, especially those with young children and prenatal dietary needs.
It is important to note, the medical staff is volunteer only, and the desperately needed prenatal care is all free. The Hope Center finds ways to generate much needed funds by their resale shop, Hopefully Yours. “We get a lot of clothing and household items that are just not quite a good fit for our donations, so ten years ago we opened a resale store. It’s called Hopefully Yours Resale Shop, and all proceeds go to the Hope Center—so that’s one other way we can generate revenue for the operation,” says Sperry.
The Hope Center also raises charitable funds during its annual drive in December. “The Samaritan Fund Drive is our only fundraiser, so it’s a huge part of our revenue generation that keeps the clinic running. The Edmond Sun has been instrumental since the beginning with getting the word out,” she said. “We could not have been as successful without their generous use of their time and space in the paper.”
For nearly three decades, the Hope Center has offered help and hope to those in the community who may be in crisis. Sperry says it’s community helping community that makes this so special. “We have been open more than three decades and we’re just lucky enough to have a community who supports us, and supports not just us, but those in our community who needs our help…it’s just amazing [to see]the outpouring of support.”