Great State: Ruby Tuesday

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — She arrives at 9:00am sharp once a week.

Staff at the Urban Mission calls them Ruby Tuesdays, a name that hung on the day at some point after Ruby Petty started volunteering about 13 years ago.

“Well, I just felt like it was a good cause,” says Petty. “And it was something that I could do.”

She stocks shelves during her three-hour shift.

On this day it’s donated food items from a food drive.

The Urban Mission sees about 20,000 people a year.

Many of them are hungry.

Volunteers under Director Peggy Garrett set up a storefront so the needy would feel like they have more of a choice when they come.

“That just gives them a little dignity back, a little control,” says Garrett.

So Ruby spends her morning sorting through the good and the bad.

At one point she’s a little confused by a computer ink cartridge that found its way into a paper bag.

Peggy steps in and puts that aside.

She performs the rest of her tasks like an unseen angel who the people she helps might never see.

She turned 91 in October, 2013.

Her hip bothers her.

She gets a little tired after a shift.

But again and again, lining shelf after shelf, rests the continuing theme of her life, the idea of ‘doing something’.

“It’s something I can do,” she says of her efforts on behalf of the needy. “I enjoy it. I just wish I could do more.”

Director Garrett says, “She’s there to give back to other people when she could be just sitting and home taking it easy.”

Ruby grew up on a farm near Mangum, OK.

She raised a family.

By all rights she should be someone who is the recipient of a charitable act or two, but here she is.

Ruby Tuesdays are precious gems.

If only we had more.

For more information about the Urban Mission, located at 3737 North Portland Ave, go to their website at http://www.urbanmissionokc.org