'Reaching people in need': Sara's Project, Children's Shelter team up to raise money for United Way

Sierra Rains
The quarantine survival basket put together by the Community Children's Shelter and Sara's Project. The two organizations have teamed up to raise money for United Way.

The Community Children’s Shelter and Sara’s Project are joining forces to raise money for the United Way of South Central Oklahoma this year. 

Both agencies work closely with a lot of the same families and population to achieve a similar mission of assisting children in crisis, so the partnership only seemed natural, said Children’s Shelter Executive Director Kaylyn Weldon-Gary. Individuals can support the fundraiser by purchasing tickets to be entered into a drawing for a quarantine survival basket. 

The basket includes $1,000 worth of items such as soft, warm blankets, wine, a Yeti cooler, a Cafe Alley gift card, a Main Street Coffee gift card, candles, soaps and more. Tickets can be purchased for $5 each or at a discounted price of $20 for five tickets. The deadline to purchase tickets is Oct. 8. 

All entries will be compiled into one container, and on Oct. 9, Sara’s Project and the Community Children’s Shelter will get together with Sara Donaho, the Ardmore Valero Community Relations Advisor, to draw the winning ticket live on Facebook. 

“We asked the board members of Sara’s Project and the Community Children’s Shelter to make donations to the basket from local businesses and local restaurants on the theme of ‘What are some items that you would like to have handy if you have to go into quarantine, or perhaps you get snowed in for a couple of weeks at home’,” Weldon-Gary said. 

The donations for the basket kept coming in and soon the amount of items became too large for one single basket. The winning entry will receive a plethora of quarantine survival items, many overflowing into the inside of the Yeti cooler. 

Weldon-Gary said the two organizations have already sold around 215 tickets, amounting to around $1,000 raised so far. A tentative goal for the fundraiser was set at $1,200, but they are hoping to raise much more. 

“We haven’t set a firm goal because we want to see where we can get to, we want to be able to pour as much into the United Way as we possibly can,” Weldon-Gary said. All proceeds will benefit the United Way of South Central Oklahoma, which provides a large portion of funds for both the Community Children’s Shelter and Sara’s Project. 

“Our United Way budget is a pretty good chunk of the funding that we need in order to be able to keep our shelter open,” Weldon-Gary said. The funds from United Way go into day-to-day operations at the Children’s Shelter, which serves as a temporary shelter for children and adolescents who need a safe place to stay due to neglect, abandonment or abuse. 

Children are often escorted to the shelter by police officers or DHS workers. Sara’s Project also coordinates with local law enforcement and DHS, and is able to provide child advocacy services for children in crisis situations resulting from trauma, abuse or loss through its partnership with United Way. 

“United Way is critical in supporting our local organizations that do the work in the community that really reaches the people that are in need,” Weldon-Gary said. 

Individuals can purchase tickets in person at 15 Monroe Street Northeast in Ardmore, by visiting the Community Children’s Shelter or Sara’s Project online, or by calling the Community Children’s Shelter at (580) 226-1838 or Sara’s Project at (580) 226-7283.