New faces are coming into Sand Springs Community Services, revealing an increased need for assistance amid instability as a result of COVID-19.
“Folks coming in over the last few days, some of them are new clients that have never needed to access our services before,” executive director Nathan Woodmansee said. “Their needs are as a result of income loss due to layoffs or job loss already.”
For nearly a century, Sand Springs Community Services has been helping those experiencing economic difficulties, navigating crises spanning from the Great Depression in the 1930s to historic flooding last year.
Among the organization’s biggest assets is a food pantry on the second floor of the old Central Elementary building. During the virus outbreak, Sand Springs Community Services is limiting access but remains open Monday-Friday to serve people in need or those helping others.
“We’ve seen a few that are coming in on behalf of folks that are more at risk, some of the older population that are concerned about getting out,” Woodmansee said. “We’ve had a few that are coming on behalf of their neighbor to make sure they have what they need.”
Sand Springs Community Services is working with partners like the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the United Way but likely will have an ongoing financial need to assist with paying utility bills because of unemployment. Donations can be made online at SSCSOK.org or over the phone at 918-245-5183.
“As this (ultimately) begins to come to an end and folks begin to go back to work, they’re still going to have this hump they have to get over, which is paying for the things that they were using during this disaster without income,” Woodmansee said. “We’re already taking steps to begin receiving funds that will help us to offset those needs for folks as they begin to transition back to work.”
Another resource for families in need is free meals from Sand Springs Public Schools, available March 23-April 3 for kids age 18 and younger. “Grab and go” breakfasts and lunches will be served at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and children must be present to receive meals.
The pick-up locations are Limestone Technology Academy, Clyde Boyd Middle School, Garfield STEAM Academy, the Central Ninth Grade Center, Charles Page High School and the Early Childhood Education Center.
The Sand Springs Local Church Network, which partnered to aid people affected by last year’s flooding, again is working to serve congregations and the community despite churches being closed because of the virus. CrossPoint distributed a week’s worth of groceries for 125 families in Sand Springs on Friday morning as part of its monthly Friday Food Share.
“We’re really trying to hold to the CDC (guidelines) and hold to our faith as well and mix those two together and see what God can do,” HillSpring associate pastor Matt Barnett said.