Thank you for the Opportunity to serve

Published by Catholic Charities


Barry Corum reflects on this past year as he sits in an empty warehouse at Catholic Charities’ main campus in North Tulsa. An upcoming renovation project has temporarily moved the food distribution to a warehouse at 59th and Mingo. Hundreds of volunteers alongside Barry stepped up since March of 2020 to serve as many as 400-600 families per day with food. Barry began his work at Catholic Charities when he retired in 2016. After learning of different opportunities available to him, he was called to volunteer as a caseworker in Emergency Assistance, where he counseled those coming for food, clothing, and financial assistance and sometimes referred them to other programs available on campus. “In the past year, our role has changed to serving the poor who come to us by the hundreds each day to answer one great need, hunger. As a volunteer caseworker, I used to see maybe 15 clients in a day, now I see 15 clients in ten minutes,” said Barry.“There are hundreds of us volunteers answering this call at Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma. Why? As volunteers, we get cool t-shirts and occasional appreciation banquets where we can socialize; but more importantly, we get to live the mission of Catholic Charities to share Christ’s merciful love, not just with the poor and suffering, but with each other. We get to live the words of the t-shirts we wear: ‘Love Changing Lives’. People continually express their gratitude to us and I often reply to their thanks or blessing 
by saying ‘No, God bless you for coming and thank you for the opportunity to serve.’ “The bells in the tower are a constant reminder of our purpose and they not only ring ‘Seek, Knock, Ask’, but also those words: ‘Love Changing Lives.’ “It will be a reward in itself when we enter the new food center and are better able to serve those who come. Maybe the crisis will be over, but the need will continue.”