OKLAHOMA CITY - Lori Combs had been saving her pennies since the late 1990s, hoping to eventually make improvements to her home.
But, she said God had other plans for her cash.
Instead of fixing up her house, Combs decided to use the money for a lifelong passion - helping the less fortunate.
Combs had driven by an empty building in her neighborhood every day for several years.
Until, one day, she remembered a pastor's advice.
"He preached a sermon about the difference between being successful and being great," Combs said. "He says success is selfish."
She decided to buy the place, a former restaurant, and turn into a beacon of hope for folks in need.
Combs recruited friends and opened the Northeast Oklahoma City Community and Cultural Center last year.
Comb's friends who volunteer at the center said her giving spirit prompted them to nominate her for First Fidelity Bank's Pay it 4Ward.
"She just come to us and said God put on my heart last night to do this, and we got to do it, and we jump in and help her," said Arnita Golden.
Volunteers at the center said none of the community outreach would be possible without Comb's leadership.
"We've had food giveaways, and we've had clothing giveaways, and we've had special events for the kids," said Joyce Jackson, who also nominated Combs.
First Fidelity Bank's Lanier Lee was thrilled to honor Comb's for her tireless efforts to feed, clothe and support members of the community with no where else to turn.
"I'm more than honored to present the two of you, for Lori, on behalf of First Fidelity Bank, with $400 to Pay it 4ward," Lee said.
With the cash in hand, it was time to surprise Combs.
She was about to find out why her friends had summoned her to the center in the middle of the day.
"Your friends, Arnita and Joyce, have nominated you for First Fidelity Bank's Pay it 4Ward for everything you do for those less fortunate in the community."
Combs was overcome with emotion.
After a few minutes, not a dry eye in the place, Combs shared one of the reasons she is so passionate about helping families in need.
"I just want to be a blessing. I want people to feel the way I feel and to feel special," Combs said, wiping away tears from her eyes.
The center is equipped with a newly donated kitchen.
Combs and her volunteers hope to start serving daily hot lunches to anyone who is hungry in the coming weeks.
An amazing personal mission, accomplished.
Combs plans to put the $400 right back into the community center to help with upcoming fundraisers.