The sounds of ringing bells and cheerful greetings filled the air as hundreds of ORU students, staff and faculty graciously adopted all 27 Salvation Army kettle locations in the Tulsa Metro area on Nov. 20.
Dressed in ORU spirit beanies and bright red aprons, students, staff, faculty and administration stood for hours outside local businesses to encourage passing customers to donate to the Salvation Army.
The funds that were raised during this campaign will be dedicated to aiding the poor populations of Tulsa by providing specific programs such as “food, emergency shelter, job training, financial assistance, day-care and youth development initiatives,” according to the Salvation Army’s website.
Though the goal of this volunteer outreach was to raise funds for the impoverished, many ORU students walked away having gained intangible rewards of their own.
“It was such an encouraging experience being able to bring so much joy through ringing a bell,” said freshman Alyzsa Crosby. “People would come in so straight-faced and determined to get their groceries, not expecting to be welcomed with love and happy faces. It made their days.”
Ashley Gingerich, admissions staff member at ORU, encountered a woman who had been a frequent recipient of Salvation Army services in the past. The woman donated generously and said she wished she could give even more.
“To see how many people were willing to give to our cause was really encouraging,” said Gingerich.
This campaign was just one of the many volunteer efforts that students participate in throughout the school year. One of the foundational elements of ORU’s mission is to serve people in every man’s world, including those who live in Tulsa.
“I think it’s awesome that ORU sends its students out into the community to make a difference,” said freshman Madison Milstead. “Getting to interact with different people and bring them joy in the little things is so worth it.”
ORU students were featured on three different television stations and collected more than $8,300 on the day of the event.