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First Christian Church pastor Gene Spillman, and the church’s Outreach Committee chair Virginia Lucas, arrange clothes and food that will be donated to Stand Down for homeless veterans.

First Christian Church collects items for vets

First Christian Church has been collecting food and clothes to help with the third annual Lawton/Southwest Oklahoma Stand Down that benefits homeless veterans scheduled for May 1 at Centenary United Methodist Church, 704 SW D. 

Virginia Lucas, Outreach Committee chair, said the church's food and clothes drive is a part of its outreach program for the community. 

"We are a very giving church and we like to be active in the community," Lucas said. "Stand Down to help the vets was something that appealed to us; we talked about being a part of it with the congregation and asked for the donation of lightly used clothes and food for goody bags."

Lucas said the church has collected about 25-30 bags of clothes and food items to donate and they will continue the collection until Sunday. She added they wanted to let the homeless veterans know that the church cares about them and is doing its part.

The items collected include packages or flip-top cans of chicken, ham, tuna; individual pies and cookies; packages of peanut butter and/or cheese and crackers; small bottles of any juice or Kool-Aid; breakfast bars; and fruit and pudding cups and lightly used men's and women's clothes. 

Pastor Gene Spillman said the Stand Down is also an important occasion for the veterans to get valuable information about the resources that are available to them in the community.

"Stand Down is a time when the soldiers are in the middle of a war and they take a break to relax and there is some blessing there," Spillman said. "During the Stand Down Time event they will have the opportunity to be aware of assistance available to them."

Church member Dan Shelby is a former homeless veteran who benefited from Stand Down. He first attended the Stand Down in Oklahoma City in 2011. 

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