Orange Christian Services prepares for annual golf tournament
As Orange Christian Services (OCS) is in their 32nd year of meeting the needs of others, they are preparing and hoping for a double portion of help in getting some of their needs met with the upcoming sixth annual Scramble Golf Tournament on Oct. 1.
There are churches giving, grants and foundation support but those alone have no way of meeting their need. Started with only three supporting churches 32 years ago, OCS has carried their mission to every part of Orange County.
“We currently have 73 volunteers in the building on a daily basis,” Jensen says, “ Our motto is, God’s love in Action.”
The organization makes its decisions through a board of directors. The members of this board are made up of the supporting 43 churches from ten varying denominations.
“Each church can have four members on the board if they choose, but we currently have a little under 100 on the board,” Jensen said. “We serve all of Orange County, not just Orange itself.”
Receiving some funding through grants means they are watched very closely. It also means funds appropriated often have to be used for only specific areas. One grant may only help them pay for the electric bill of a person when the need is deemed an ‘emergency.’
“This means someone who needs long term monthly help because of a loss of job cannot receive those funds. In this case we have to try and help them from another funding source.”
This is where their annual golf tournament becomes helpful. The reserves acquired through this private fund raising can be used where the need is greatest.
“We have seen such an increase this year.” Jensen and several board members along with a few golf tournament sponsors discuss the level of need for 2011 compared to past years.
People who have never had to ask for help have come in while, at the same time, some of their grants and government funds have gone down.
During the month of August 2010, 877 families came in and received food, clothes or financial help. During August 2011, OCS saw an increase to 1,078 families. At the same time the supplies and donations went down. When the need goes up and the donations, whether of food, clothing or cash, go down, the ability to provide what people really need goes down as well.
“The food is going off the selves as soon as it goes on,” shares Jensen, “plus we have had to quit stocking up on some items since the amount we personally spend on food has also gone up.”
Being the largest food bank in Orange County serving the most per capita has left them having to stretch further than they ever have. Getting the word out is critical.
“If things do not change, during the upcoming holiday season, there will be no special foods this year.”
Jensen and other members of the board, along with several sponsors for the Golf Tournament, know the need. They also know the need has increased this year.
Father Tom Phelan, from St. Francis Catholic Church, said, “I have been here eight years now. We have seen a marked increase in the families that have to come to us for help.”
In spite of the obvious increase in need and the frustrations of trying to get funding and donations Jensen states, “But in the midst of it, it’s a joy.”
Philanthropist and President of Akrotex, one of the sponsors for the annual fund raiser puts its this way, “You will always have those who take advantage, but you have to go through the greedy to get to the needy.”
For OCS there is a process, an interview. They are determining not only need but how they can be of the most benefit.
“The best thing that could happen to OCS would be for our doors to close for good, that would mean there was no need,” Jensen said simply, “but we know that will never happen, the Word of God tells us, “The poor will be with you always.”’
There will not soon be an end to the need of the citizens of Orange County. Because of this there are still needs that OCS must have met. Individuals can make a simple difference. An extra jar of peanut butter thrown in the grocery bag and dropped off, clothes the kids have out grown bagged and delivered, a $5.00 donation.
At present, the organization is looking for and hoping for more sponsors for their Golf Scramble. They have 22 teams who will tee off Oct. 1 at the Sunset Grove Country Club.
Sponsor signs will be at every tee. A whole sign cost is $100. That $100 could be the difference in turkey or bologna for Thanksgiving.
To take part in becoming a sponsor, to donate items, give of your time or more information call 409-886-0938. Orange Christian Services is located at 2518 West Park in Orange.