By Emily Howsden

JENKS—A little more than a year ago, an elementary school in the Jenks school district contacted First Oklahoma Bank in the community, asking if for help finding clothes for children and families in need.

The bank owners reached out to Baptist churches in Jenks and Tulsa, as well as a local cleaning business and asked if all would be willing to sponsor Jenks CarePoint, a Christian-based ministry that provides clothing and shoes to families in need.

“Between those four entities, they partnered up, began to plan, found a site to house the ministry and developed from there,” said Kara Lee, director of CarePoint. “We have a board of directors and have been incredibly blessed with the support of the community and of the churches. The donations are constant.

“Our mission is to serve the students and families of Jenks Public Schools and the community by providing resources and programs to meet physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs as we share the love and hope that is found in Christ.”

The tight-knit community surrounding CarePoint is heavily populated with Burmese refugees. According to Lee, they fled their home country due to the violent war and persecution of their Christian faith.

“I was stunned to learn of this need in Jenks, a community with a lot of wealth,” she said. “But the need is there, and we’re going to fulfill it.”

In addition to offering clothing to these families, CarePoint offers sewing classes and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. The ESL classes and sewing classes are taught to help equip individuals with knowledge and skills to improve their social, financial, emotional and spiritual well-being, according to Lee.

Currently, more than 40 people are taking ESL and sewing classes at CarePoint. After they finish a semester of classes, they can purchase a sewing machine at a reduced cost to them.

“With everything we’ve done, it’s been very gratifying to hear them talk about how much of a difference it has made,” Lee said. “Whether it’s the clothing that they can’t afford for their families, or if they’ve done both English and sewing classes, they talk about how they came to this community not knowing anything or anybody. Through CarePoint, it has given them opportunity to provide for their families but also to fit in.”

CarePoint has been open for 10 weeks.

In that time, they have distributed clothing to an estimated 1,200 people. Lee says there are future plans to develop additional ministries and services as other needs that exist within the community are determined.

Other ways CarePoint has been able to serve the community are through leaders in the churches reaching out to young mothers and stepping in to help them understand motherhood, the culture and community.

“They are new mothers and don’t have their mom to be around and help them. So we take them on outings and help them learn to navigate in our country, where everything is new to them,” Lee said.

Jenks CarePoint is open to the public Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 9-11 a.m. every third Saturday. It is located at 2914 East 91st Street. CarePoint accepts all sizes of men’s and women’s clothing, children’s clothing, new underwear and socks, shoes, coats, disposable diapers, blankets, sheets and towels.

For more information, visit www.JenksCarepoint.org.

This article appeared in the Baptist Messenger, news journal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Emily Howsden is a staff writer for the Baptist Messenger. NAMB found this article here on the Baptist Press website.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board’s call to embrace the world’s unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board’s call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. Except for minor style, security, formatting and grammatical changes, the items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.