By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer
A few hundred needy area families are about to get a dose of holiday cheer from what some might consider an unlikely source.
As part of New Hope Assembly of God’s annual Thanksgiving Grocery Drive, a local gun range is offering a chance to get in on the donation fun.
Deshayn Wilson, a Muskogee police officer, runs SBR Defensive Training, which teaches gun safety, weapons and self-defense classes. Wilson also occasionally offers an open range at the site, where area gun owners can fire off some rounds and let off some steam.
Saturday, SBR is hosting an open range and weapons training class, and Wilson is asking those participating to bring groceries to donate to New Hope.
“A lot of times we’ll do an open range just to let people who have gone through the classes come and shoot and stay fresh,” Wilson said. “If you don’t shoot you can forget what you’ve learned, and it’s almost like it’s all for nothing.”
Wilson said a fundraiser for Women In Safe Home that SBR ran earlier in the year prompted Saturday’s donation drive. Anyone can bring donations by — preferably non-perishable items — Saturday, not just those taking part in the open range.
“It’s a good way to help the community out,” Wilson said. “There are so many truly needy people out there, and this is a way for people to kind of come together and give some assistance to people who need it.”
The open range begins at 9 a.m., Wilson said. SBR Defensive Training is located at 3009 S. 45th St. E.
Tiffany Scott, a secretary at New Hope Assembly of God, said the church assisted 254 families during 2011’s grocery drive.
“We rely solely on people who donate, and in the past it’s only been people in our congregation who have donated,” Scott said. “So, to have Deshayn offer to help us get more food, it’s just wonderful.”
New Hope is set to distribute the groceries after its service Nov. 18. Scott said the church also is accepting donations from the public.
“Hopefully, we can help out more families this year than ever,” Scott said.
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth @muskogeephoenix.com.
If you go
WHAT: SBR Defensive Training open gun range and grocery drive.
WHERE: 3009 S. 45th St. E.
WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday.
ADMISSION: Open gun range is free with donation of sack of non-perishable groceries appropriate for a Thanksgiving dinner.
INFORMATION: (918) 682-5952 or www.facebook.com/SBR.Defensive.Training .