EDMOND, Okla. - As children head back to school this time of year, there are many Oklahoma students who will not be showing up for class with much. However, one local charity is changing that for many kids.
On a quiet street just off of Broadway in Edmond, sits an old community building.
Inside that building, U R Special Ministries provides clothing to young boys and girls, and are helping those going back to school.
It started 18 years ago when a few church ladies got together and made dresses for little girls in need. Now, the charity serves hundreds of girls and boys.
Darsi Graham is the director, and she had no idea Patti Wynn nominated her for Pay it 4Ward.
Patti is president of the Edmond Women's Club and one of their favorite charities is U R Special Ministries.
"You are very deserving. We work so closely with you, and you've done so much for the kids of Edmond, the needy and at risk," Patti told Darsi.
"What's fun is to watch the kids leave, because that's when the boys want to wear their shoes out. The girls love their pink and purple dresses or shirts or whatever they have, and the parents, some of them are just in tears," Darsi said. "A lot of them are generational poverty, but some of them are just situational and they just know this is the only way their kids can go to school and feel confident and feel like they fit in."
Volunteer seamstresses still make those one-of-a-kind dresses for girls, in addition to new outfits and shoes. The racks are full of clothes for children ages 3 to 9, whose families qualify under the HUD financial guidelines. And word of mouth brings a lot of families in, as well as the local head start program, counselors, and even teachers.
"One of the teachers told me that they had a little boy coming to school in hand-me-down girls' jeans because that's all they had in their family, and they didn't have any money to buy some new clothes," Darsi said.
And with the help of countless volunteers and donations, U R Special Ministries continues to create hope and gives kids new confidence with their new outfits.
Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.