Maintaining high spirits while in recovery from addiction, substance abuse or domestic violence can be difficult.
“In recovery, addiction is hard and it’s miserable,” said Naomi House director Cheryl Andrews, who has faced her own battle with drug and alcohol abuse.
Andrews opened Naomi House in May 2007 as a temporary home for women who are dealing with similar struggles and, since then, has been helping empower women through faith-based recovery.
While the non-profit’s many fundraising projects mainly contribute to helping keep the organization running, profits also go towards funding activities that help remind the women of Naomi House that recovery can be fun too, Andrews said.
“Usually (funds go towards) whatever overhead that we need here because a lot of the women can’t pay and sometimes they’re late paying so it goes just for general operations — but a lot of times we just need to go have fun,” Andrews said.
On Saturday, Aug. 24, the women of Naomi House could be seen standing on E St. NW and 12th Ave. NW, holding signs directing drivers to their seasonal Indian taco sale fundraiser. Many new faces at the Naomi House helped out and after weeks of over 100 degree weather, Andrews said they just happened to pick a nice, overcast day.
“All the girls that I have right now have never done a taco sale,” Andrews said. “We do it seasonally, not usually in the middle of the hot summer, but kind of in the fall and winter. We decided to do one now so that we could go do something fun.”
The sale ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and only an hour and a half in, Andrews said several community members had rolled out in support of the organization’s fundraiser.
“People show up for food every time. Whether it’s a picnic, a taco sale, or whatever,” Andrews said. “I’m out delivering, but I think we’re doing great.”
Those who have graduated from the programs at Naomi House often remain heavily involved with the organization and helped support their most recent fundraiser as well.
One graduate, who now works at a local nursing home, bought 10 tacos at $5 each and a couple of graduates who work at Marcum’s Nursery brought out “the whole crew” to buy tacos, Andrews said.
“A lot of them come in from this county, but we get them from all over the state, and a lot of times they just decide to stay and participate and often give back to our recovering community,” Andrews said.
The proceeds from the Indian taco sale fundraiser will be saved for future excursions, but will also go towards a trip to Turner Falls later this week. Andrews said the women are planning on spending the day at the falls and picnicking.
Often times, Andrews said she will invite the women’s families to these activities, which can be very impactful for many of the women who haven’t seen their family members for long periods of time.
“A lot of times we’re estranged from our family for so long,” Andrews said. “The stories I hear about people when they get reunited — a lot of families come together and it’s just precious because addiction separates all of us from God, from the people we love, from our communities — and so we come back together in a fun environment.”
The Naomi House also tries to save up enough money to take the women out for a fun night at Oklahoma City’s Winter Jam each year, Andrews said. “We go up to Oklahoma City, get a room, go somewhere nice to eat and go to the concert and spend the night. It’s pretty expensive with 20 women.”
Over the years, Andrews said she has seen the Ardmore recovery community continue to grow.
The community’s contribution through fundraisers is just one way the community has helped those struggling with addiction reunite with loved ones and experience some joy during the process, Andrews said.
“We’ve got a pretty strong recovery community in Ardmore and I’m proud of it,” Andrews said. “It hasn’t always been that way, but we build it with these recovery homes and celebrate recovery, this is the most giving community that I have ever experienced. People just have a heart for this.”