OKC Hat and Glove Outreach

OKC Hat and Glove Outreach
OKC Hat and Glove Outreach

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Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City Winter Outreach: Warming Hands & Hearts

Story by Trinity Grau
Photos by Brandi Traina

As Anna Hoag commuted to her desk job in Oklahoma City, OK, every day, she often saw children standing in the school bus line, many dressed in clothing that couldn’t keep them warm enough in Oklahoma’s bitter winds and chilly winters. “It just broke my heart to see them,” she recalled. “The Lord put it on my heart to reach out to my community. I knew I had to do something.” Her responsiveness to God’s prompting led her to encourage her church, Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City, OK, to start its Hats & Gloves Outreach in the winter of 2017.

After moving to Oklahoma in 2016, she found Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City in 2017, where she now worships and serves. When the Lord put the desire to help on her heart, she approached the church first. Administrative Pastor Christian Traina jumped on board immediately. He exclaimed, “She’s really the one who got us doing this. The Lord’s worked through the experience in so many ways.” Anna bought hats, gloves, and more warm essentials in bulk while Christian reached out to local school districts to arrange a way to pass out clothing to the kids.

Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share. 1 Timothy 6:18

Lady handing out gloves bending over

Anna Hoag, a member of Calvary Chapel Oklahoma City, OK, offers a selection of hats and gloves to children at a city elementary school. During the month of January, Anna and other church volunteers brought the hats, gloves, and other warm gear to several area schools as a practical way to show them the love Jesus has for them.

Active Church Involvement

The church has come alongside the ministry, Anna shared. Every winter since its founding, Christian and Anna post a bulletin, and a diverse range of volunteers sign up. Homeschooled kids, teens, adults, and even seniors help serve in the cold, normally starting in early November. She was reminded of Acts 6:1-7, which describes how the early church assigned men to care for the widows, freeing the apostles to teach. Anna sees how the body of Christ is made up of many people with different spiritual gifts and callings—all meeting many different needs. She stated, “I hope that the volunteers see the impact they’re having on the community simply through a little kindness.”

Anna noted with pleasure how the Lord has provided for her ability to bless so many. After gathering the materials needed, she was blessed with a surprise. “The first year we served in this ministry, I got a bonus [at work] that covered the amount spent on supplies. That’s not very common in a government job! I’ve been so amazed. He put it on my heart that when we step out in faith, He provides. He’s been very faithful every year since then as well.”

Girl putting earmuffs on kid

Lillie reaches over to see if earmuffs fit a child’s head well. Homeschooled students, teens, adults, and even senior citizens from CC Oklahoma City volunteer to serve in the cold. Before COVID-19, the volunteers were allowed to bring their supplies into the buildings.

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

In the first year of the ministry, Christian called three local elementary schools in the areas Anna drove through. They would later expand to include one junior high school. Anna explained, “We would go to the schools and set up a table. The teachers really appreciated seeing us, too. Half of these kids would be playing with barely any warm clothing on, and they would get so excited seeing us.” She emphasized that there was no problem if children wanted to take extra items for a sibling or friend. Anna added, “We weren’t trying to make anyone sit and listen to the Gospel in order to get something in reward. We just wanted to make sure they were taken care of.”

Christian added that Anna was adamant that the church reach out to the districts that were specifically experiencing greater financial hardship. “We wanted to focus more in areas around us where kids may not have hats and gloves, and also may not have had dinner the night before. Because of this, the teachers and administrators of these districts have been extremely thankful and welcoming to us,” he emphasized. “This has allowed us as a church to steadily build consistent relationships with these public schools where they have very open arms to the church. The schools have been looking to do anything they can to help us love and provide for their students, all in the name of Jesus.”

Lady pointing at table

Near the bus stop at an elementary school, children gather around CC Oklahoma City’s hat and glove table. The outreach is popular among students, teachers, and administrators at the schools.

Same Mission, Different Look

COVID-19 restrictions have changed the look of the outreach from years past—but not the mission. In 2021, the ministry ran only in the month of January. There are strict new school guidelines. “For one thing, we have to set the table outside,” Anna recounted. “And we have to wear masks. There’s no going [inside the building]. But it’s still a blessing to serve.”

Christian affirmed, “Because of COVID, [visitors] are all under the same very strict rules, which includes no one being allowed in the school building. [School administration] hates having to enforce that with us, but they have been extremely accommodating in allowing us to set up tables and stations on the school grounds, right outside the exit doors.”

Many of the teachers remembered Christian and Anna and were happy to see that the children’s needs were still being met. Many of the children also remembered the volunteers.

Anna joyfully declared, “I am just really hoping that we can show that the church meets many different needs and can make a difference.”

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

calvaryokc.com

Gloves on table

Anna Hoag has donated many hats and pairs of gloves each winter since 2017. “God put it on my heart that when we step out in faith, He provides. He’s been very faithful every year,” she exclaimed.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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