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OCS turns 40 years old shows God’s Love in Action

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

 

Opening it’s doors in October 1979 to serve a need in the community, Orange Christian Services (OCS) celebrates turning 40 this month.

With the mission to show God’s Love in Action, the organization does so much more to help those in need throughout the community.

Originally, the organization offered food and some clothing to its clients. 

Starting with three-member churches, by the end of the first year, five-member churches were providing emergency assistance to those in the area unable to obtain help elsewhere.

Today, there are 43 member churches helping clients.

After seven years, services expanded to include financial assistance for rent, utilities, maintenance prescriptions such as for blood pressure, and at one time, transportation for medical needs.

“We could no longer offer transportation,” Executive Director Judy Jensen said. “We had to stop it in 2008. We still get calls for it.”

For the past five years, OCS provides food for 648 households a month which of those households that is 1,813 individuals a month on average.

Each day, a different group of volunteers assists OCS clients.

“We have 60-65 volunteers each month,” Jensen said. “We have some who volunteer when they can.”

To volunteer, one can call and set up an appointment with Jensen so she can talk about the different workstations, days and hours to help find the perfect fit.

While the organization is turning 40 this month, they will not celebrate until next spring.

“With cooler weather coming and the holidays, we will be too busy to celebrate now,” Jensen said. 

OCS, in addition to a client’s regular food order, will also provide 700-750 food bags in December. The holiday food bags will contain food to prepare a holiday meal which will also include a turkey, ham or chicken.

“They can prepare the meal when it is best for them,” Jensen said. “We are busy 12 months a year, but the holidays kick it into high gear for us.”

At this time of year, OCS can use new or gently used blankets, coats, jackets, and sweaters.

“All year long, we need the basic food items, toiletries, and paper goods,” Jensen added.

The Field of Plenty behind the center is also appreciated, according to Jensen.

“The vegetables grown there are brought directly to OCS,” Jensen said. “They are then weighed and bagged. We always ask the client if they would like fresh veggies. People do not turn down fresh veggies.”

Jensen said OCS rejoices when they have the vegetables to provide clients.

“I wanted to give fresh vegetables for years, and this provides a fresh element,” Jensen said. 

Sandra Hoke and Claire Smith, volunteers with the garden, also provide recipes for the current vegetable harvested. 

“As with any ministry, we are not here to judge,” Jensen said. “We listen, comfort and give direction and help with immediate needs so many never have to think about.”

Orange Christian Services is open from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 10 a.m. – Noon on Fridays. 

It is located at 2518 West Park Ave. in Orange. For more information, call 409-886-0938.