Churches fill bags to honor Muskogee's teachers

Muskogee Church Assistant Pastor Cecil Wilson holds water bottles while volunteer Carol Hickman assembles gift bags for teachers. 

"You know teachers have a hard job," Carolyn Hickman said as she cut Redbox code cards for teacher gift bags.

Hickman spent Tuesday with other Muskogee Church volunteers putting cards, water bottles and snacks for Hilldale Elementary School teachers. 

Muskogee Church, a Nazarene congregation, is working with other churches affiliated with Muskogee Area Ministerial Alliance to assemble and distribute the bags.

"We believe that coming out of COVID was very hard for the teachers and for school administrations," said Eastside Community Church Pastor Gary Underwood, a past president. "Trying to teach during COVID this last year and a half has been difficult, so we wanted to give them a pick-me-up."

Underwood said alliance members had been discussing how the alliance could encourage Muskogee churches.

"One of the best things we can do to encourage one another is to serve together," he said. "We brought that up a few years ago, we did a teacher appreciation week. We decided to do that again this year."

Several churches offered to put bags together, he said.

Churches fill bags to honor Muskogee's teachers

Carol Hickman cuts Redbox code cards to put into teacher gift bags. Muskogee Area Ministerial Alliance sought to distribute gift bags to every teacher at Hilldale and Muskogee Public Schools, as well as Boulevard Christian School. 

"If we can mobilize as many churches as possible, we can cover all of Hilldale Public Schools and Muskogee Public Schools teachers and make them a care package," Underwood said.

Eastside and Muskogee Church, both located on Peak Boulevard, assembled bags for Hilldale teachers, Underwood said. He said Eastside volunteers filled bags with chocolate candies, snacks, bottled water and Redbox code cards.

"Our church delivered 85 teacher bags to the middle school and high school," Underwood said, adding that Muskogee Church delivered 73 to elementary schools.

Muskogee Church Pastor Drew Dinnel said he sees the bags as a way to "give teachers a night off."

About 12 other churches made packages for MPS and Boulevard Christian teachers, Underwood said. They included New Jerusalem Baptist, Christ's Kingdom Builders, Boston Avenue Baptist, Macedonia Baptist, New Life Church of Taft, Boulevard Christian, St. Paul United Methodist, Faith Deliverance, St. Mark Baptist and Oasis.

About 374 bags were made for MPS teachers and 15 for Boulevard teachers.

After the distribution, Alliance members will meet to discuss what to do next, Underwood said. 

Muskogee Area Ministerial Alliance seeks to reach across denominational and racial lines to help the community, said Alliance President Ron Venters. 

Learn more

Muskogee Area Ministerial Alliance meets the fourth Wednesday of every month. Pastors interested in getting involved with Muskogee Area Ministerial Alliance may call President Ron Venters at Christ's Kingdom Builders (918) 681-1817, or send a message through the alliance's Facebook page,

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