On my short list for "biggest blessings ever," nonprofit organizations linger somewhere near the top — and Muskogee has no shortage of them, flush as we are with driven, compassionate people willing to help others when they need it.
Still, even the helpers need help sometimes. The work of charity is never done, and amid making sure as many people as possible are fed, clothed, sheltered and prayed for, it can be easy for more mundane tasks to fall by the wayside.
Gutters outside of shelters pile up. The paint in rooms where people receive help starts to chip. Signs become old and faded, and you just never find the hours needed to hang a new one. Time becomes as scarce as money when you're trying to save the world (or at least our little corner of it.)
So, when businesses partner with Lake Area United Way to send volunteers out to these nonprofits to aid with this kind of work, it warms my old and cynical heart.
I covered the story Friday, talking with folks who were volunteering for the volunteers, so to speak. I encountered nothing but enthusiasm for both the work itself and the efforts of the nonprofit groups the volunteers were helping.
"I think if the community sees the people in it working together, we can reach so many goals and advances," said Mogul Apparel owner Ray Hopkins, who joined the Rotary Club in remodeling and painting the Muskogee Community Food Bank Friday morning. "If you help each other, you can get a lot accomplished."
Lake Area United Way Executive Director Jenny Jamison called the work "a gift" to nonprofits.
"Nonprofits do such a good job of helping everyone else that their time and their money often go to the people that need their resources, so maybe they don’t always get the time to clean up that brush or get that manual labor day," she said.
I'd like to extend heartfelt gratitude to the businesses who sacrificed a little productivity to provide huge help for our nonprofits. We're blessed in this town to have so many people willing to help those in need, and doubly blessed to have a thriving business community so willing to support that aid.