Love, "The Interns"

On their last day at Serve Moore HQ, a few of our Summer Interns snuck in one, final blog post. It seems they wanted the world to know what they thought of their summer spent serving those who came to serve. I'll just leave these thoughts here, untouched, as they presented them. The only thing I'll add — every day it becomes increasingly obvious to me that the renewal we began working for more than two years ago spreads to every heart and life this movement touches.

— Chris


As our Summer 2015 internships come to a close, some of us wanted to write a message of thanks to Serve Moore, Chris, Michael, and the rest of the staff that has made our summer so great!

Claire

As my first internship comes to an end, I could not have been more blessed to be in any other place than here at Serve Moore. I learned a great deal of patience and to live organized in a disorganized world. But most of all I learned how to love people the way God wants Christians to love people. Chris, Michael and the rest of the Serve Moore team showed me how to love strangers and in a way that was selfless but enthusiastic. Helping people find home when all is lost and helping them feel more secure in their living conditions is what they are about. This time alone has only fueled my own passion to help others. So, I'm thankful for the opportunity that I had and for the people that I've met. And I’ll keep the same drive from this summer to use the rest of college and on to the rest of my career.


Michael

This summer working with Serve Moore has been one of the best I remember. This has hands down been the best internship I've experienced! Instead of finding people to fill in roles, Chris and Michael looked at us to find out how best we could benefit the organization. On top of that, instead of just doing specific jobs, we were asked to give our opinion, given the opportunity to share our ideas, and the freedom to make the internship as rewarding as we wanted. I definitely won't forget all the entertaining stories told over lunch, project runs with my fellow interns, or how much I learned about serving communities!


Kaylee

When you tell people you are an intern, they immediately go to think you’re getting coffee and making copies. I’ve been told internships are meant to be unglamorous and are there for you to “pay your dues.” For those of us fortunate enough to intern at Serve Moore, we know this to be untrue! Working at Serve Moore taught all of us to think on our feet and outside the box, and not be afraid to try new things. I have learned the power of telling stories to help spread Serve Moore’s mission, and I’ve been blessed to hear stories from both families in Moore and the volunteers, and realize how individual acts can build upon each other to make something great! I’ve also learned great life lessons about selflessness, positivity, and teamwork.

So, thank you Chris and Michael! Thank you for constant encouragement to push our limits. Thank you for my first Jimmy Johns, ever. Thank you for never letting us have a dull moment, and for being some of the best, most selfless, albeit sassiest people I’ve ever met. And thank you to the entire Serve Moore team, especially y’all interns, for giving me an unforgettable summer!


Andy

Working as the Nonprofit Management Intern at Serve Moore this summer has taught me several things and has given me priceless experience that I don’t think I would have received anywhere else. I have interned at nonprofits before, but never any as new as Serve Moore. I think I learned so much more at Serve Moore than I did or even could with my past experiences because it gave me a chance to help build something from the ground up and watch it grow.

Going into this internship I only knew that I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector. I didn’t know what exactly what I wanted to do and in what type of nonprofit work I wanted to be in. Seeing all of the people that Serve Moore has helped over this summer was very fulfilling especially since I got to be a part of that. That is something that I want to keep being a part of and hopefully turn into something that I can do once I am finished with school.

So to Chris, Michael, everyone at Serve Moore and my fellow summer interns, thank you so much for this great summer experience. I will be forever grateful for this amazing opportunity to be a part of something so great.

Love,

“The Interns”

#ServeMoore as told by Katie & Grant

This week, Katie and Grant drove with their team from Lexena, Kansas to help out our community. This was their second time coming, their first being the summer of 2013. Two years later, they were able to see the progress made, as well as help out families who were affected by the most recent storms this last spring.

When asked about their favorite part of the week, Katie told us about a woman she met while scouting for uncovered needs in a neighborhood. "Her house was hit by the tornado in May. She is crippled, so she was unable to reach her shelter in time." Miraculously, the lady survived the storm! Katie was able to bring comfort by sitting and talking with her, as well as offer hope by informing her about the services offered by programs like Serve Moore.

Grant recalled the joy on a homeowner's face when a finished project was handed back over. "We just finished painting the outside of house when he came out to talk to us. You could just tell how grateful he was." What was the most important part of this week? "Definitely interacting with the people!" they both agreed.

Volunteers are able to give local homeowners free labor, but the biggest gift they offer our community is taking the time to talk with and listen to our residents' stories. It's incredible how much of an impact that truly has on people's lives.

"The last tornados were a lot more destructive," Katie said while reflecting back on their first trip. Grant added, "It was heartbreaking seeing that much damage for the first time. But, it's so cool to see all the progress!"

You too can be a part of the progress we're making to bring renewal to Central OKC. To hear more stories like Katie and Grant's and find out how, go to www.servemoore.com.

Finding A Need to Fill

Your neighborhoods have been affected by natural disasters and some have yet to receive help- and we know that. To reach out to these homes, Serve Moore is sending out scouting teams to various areas of the OKC metro, literally going door-to-door asking people how we can help.

Intern Claire briefing a scouting team before heading out

Intern Claire briefing a scouting team before heading out

Volunteers’ mission this week is to go out and reach people who need help, but haven’t for various reasons. Maybe they don’t know who to ask, how to ask, or what to ask for. Scouting teams are there to explain Serve Moore’s mission, services, and let homeowners know that there is no need too insignificant.

Serve Moore’s mission is to mobilize people to love and serve Central Oklahoma. Our dream is that through the tragedy of natural disasters and the extraordinary good we’ve seen since, renewal would be sparked in our community; Renewal which spreads to every part and to every person, bringing both healing and growth. We want the Gospel and its unmatched renewing power poured out here in Moore and the surrounding areas. Many needs remain unmet — some storm related and some not. 

If you have a neighbor, family member, friend, or other loved one who you feel needs help, and they’re unsure of where to go or who to turn to, please let them know about  Serve Moore. You can visit servemoore.com/help to fill out a short form to inform us about your need, or come visit the Moore Community Renewal Center at 224 S Chestnut Ave in Moore or call us at (405) 735-3060 to learn more about us and speak with somebody about how we can help! 

Serve Moore Beats the Heat

            When we receive a respite from the rain, what do we do? Offer Serve Moore volunteers some water then go out and work! This week, teams focused on debris removal, the Moore Food & Resource Center, tarping leaky roofs, and repair on a home that was still feeling the effects of the May 2013 tornado. After guzzling nearly 500 bottles of water, volunteers spent over 1,400 hours serving and saving the residents of Moore right at $20,000!

            In a feat of strength, IM Change Mission’s team removed a total of 10 tons of debris, 5 tons of that being metal in Forest Park Estates Mobile Home Park in SE OKC. This means each volunteer removed 645 pounds of debris! By completing 651 volunteer hours, this project saved residents almost $14,000!

            When some volunteers couldn’t stand the heat, they moved into the kitchen. The Moore Food & Resource Center, a branch of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, is a hunger relief agency in Moore. This Serve Moore partner is located on N. Shields Blvd and serves the south OKC metro. This week’s volunteer teams spent a combined 255 hours at the Food & Resource Center serving 10,535 meals to 129 families.

            Moore residents still feel effects from the May 2013 tornado, and Serve Moore volunteers still answer the call to help. Experience Mission’s team worked at a home rebuilding a fence and a shed. This added up to $3,000 of savings to the homeowner: $1,600 for the fence, and $1,400 for the shed. Although the monetary savings are major, the feeling of security from the fence, the extra space and organization from the shed, and the lasting impression these volunteers left on this homeowner are priceless.

            Experience Mission and IM Change volunteered their time, materials and labor to this week’s projects, and have changed the lives of local residents. Still, there is more work to be done. If you are interested in helping renew Moore in any way you can, whether that be with time or funds for supplies, contact us!



Our Wet Work Week With #Bill

Even with Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather and out-of-season rain, Serve Moore volunteers have kept busy! All of our amazing volunteers clocked over 700 volunteer hours, and in turn, saved residents over $15,800.

Throughout the week, volunteers replaced a roof in South OKC that was damaged by wind in the May 2015 storms. Even with more rain coming down, our volunteers were able to complete the entire project in only four days! They also completed work on fences throughout the city- installing posts, panels, and gates. When the rain was too heavy to work outside, our volunteers still aided at Serve Moore HQ building shelving in a storage room and prepping a new office space, as well as building shelving in a storage room and repairing drywall at Moore Community Church.

Our largest project this week involved another home that was damaged by wind and water in the May storms. Volunteers tarped the roof to prevent further leaking, since the entire home had been flooded and covered in black mold. A team helped the homeowner move any salvageable furniture to a nearby storage unit, then tore out sheetrock, carpet, insulation, and other materials that could possibly retain mold. With 115 hours of work completed, Serve Moore volunteers saved the homeowner $6,500 through damage control and mold remediation.

Even when it seems our work is done, Oklahoma weather throws us a curveball! Earlier this year, we completed a shed build that to replace what had been completely destroyed by the May 2013 tornado. Just a few weeks after completing this shed, the March 25th tornado took out the shed again! The team was able to salvage some materials, but essentially built another shed from scratch.

Even though Serve Moore volunteers give their valuable time and energy to projects like this, some find other ways to help homes in need. Serve Moore would like to give a special thanks to partners like Emmaus Baptist Church and Experience Mission for funding construction materials, the homeowners who asked for help and helped with materials but found savings in free labor, and as always, the wonderful people, organizations, and churches whose donations keep Serve Moore going!

How Volunteers Spent Their Hours

If you are interested in helping in any way you can, whether that be with time or funds for supplies, or if you are searching for help after this week's weather, contact us!

Do you "Give Local?"

These days, we all try to "Shop Local" or "Eat Local" as a way of supporting small businesses, energizing the local economy, or because we know someone connected to the business. But have you ever thought you can also "Give Local" too? 

Consider this: small charities or organizations are commonly local establishments run by locals to lend a hand to local people! Take Serve Moore for example. Every dollar you give to Serve Moore is used by the local guys & gals who run the operation. We buy everything we can locally; supporting local businesses and energizing the local economy. Those supplies are used to help renew local homes, local parks, and local businesses. Even when we can't use volunteers, we choose local contractors to do the job. We work hard to stay local.

*in case you lost count, we used the word "local" 12 times in that last paragraph. That's a lot of local focus!

The bottom line is this; donations you make to charities are precious. Make sure that you find a hard-working, local charity about which you can be passionate and to which you can be generous. If you live in Central Oklahoma, or if you happen to be passionate about the people here recovering from multiple disasters, we would be honored to be your charity to which you can "Give Local."

18 Months & Counting...

In the time since the May 2013 tornados, so much has been accomplished! 50,000 volunteers have met more than 4,000 needs for 2,200 residents. They've built fences, storage sheds, playgrounds, gardens, and benches. They've hung drywall, rolled paint, laid tile, nailed shingles, and installed siding. Hundreds of homes and public spaces stand renewed because of volunteer efforts.

But much is left to be done.

Our list of needs is stacking up. Residents call Serve Moore HQ regularly asking for volunteer help to finish their recovery and move back into their home. Some have run out of insurance money (which was lacking to begin with); others have been victims of contractor fraud; and still others simply didn't know where to look for help until now.

That's where you come in.

We're asking for your help to attack some of the needs on our list. Ideally, we're looking for teams of 8 to 10 people to give 2 or 3 days serving alongside us. These needs require some skill but if each team has a few skilled folks, we've found that works out just fine. We're listing some of the specifics below but a few ideas that top the list are -- 40 sheds to build -- a dozen fences to build -- lots of sheets of drywall to hang. 

Would you consider organizing a small group of volunteers out of your church, civic organization, workplace, or family? We'll be working on projects all through the winter (for the most part, Oklahoma winters are mild) and into the Spring. We would love to help these tornado victims finish off their recovery and get back to a somewhat-normal life.

Jobs We Need To Do:

  • Build 40 Sheds
  • Hang Drywall
  • Build Privacy Fences
  • Build a Handicap Ramp
  • Paint New Headquarters
  • Install Base & Case
  • Lay Tile & Laminate Flooring
  • Repair Soffet & Gutters
  • Build a Swingset
  • Debris Removal

 

  • Stump Grinding
  • Farm Pond Clean Out (Tornado Debris)
  • Dead Tree Removal
  • Masonry Work
  • Dirt Removal
  • Paint Fire Hydrants 
  • Install/Repair Windows
  • Lay Sod
  • Small Home Maintenance Repairs

Things We've Been Up To Lately:

Serve Moore Saturday

You know how they say, "All good things must come to an end?" 

Yeah, I don't think "they" really understood good things. Good things are important. Good things can be contagious. Good things bring people together.

Serve Moore Saturday is a good thing. Rather, it's a bunch of people doing MANY good things.

In the last 15 months, Moore has seen tens of thousands of volunteers cross city, state, and national borders to come serve in the wake of a devastating EF-5 tornado. These people coming to serve our city has been a good thing. Eventually though, all those volunteers go home -- back to their cities, states, and nations. 

But remember -- all good things do NOT have to end. You and I still live here. You and I still know people suffering. You and I still want to keep Moore a great place to live. So it's you and me -- and our families, friends, and neighbors. Let's keep this good thing going to #RenewMoore!

Let's push to get hundreds of people together for October's Serve Moore Saturday and make a huge difference in our community! Invite everyone. Even if you helped at Serve Moore after the tornado, there's still PLENTY to do!

Join in on October 25th from 9am till 3pm at 200 S Howard Ave, Moore.

#RenewMoore with Sheds

One very important part of the recovery and renewal effort in our city has been replacing or creating storage for affected homeowners. Storage can be an afterthought in times of disaster but the reality is that more storage is needed following a disaster than before. 

We've heard from many homeowners in need of storage. Sometimes they are forced to pay a new monthly bill to keep a storage unit; sometimes they're moving back into a smaller home and need additional storage. No matter why, we want to help provide some long-term, cost effective storage for people affected by the storms.

Do I Qualify?

We have three general stipulations for homeowners who are looking to have sheds built by Serve Moore AND provided at no cost. My property was affected by the tornado, and:

  • My shed or storage was destroyed.
  • I have moved into a smaller home or a home with a smaller garage and have therefore lost my ability to store things. 
  • I am currently paying for a storage rental and could be relieved of that payment with a shed.
     

None Of The Above?

Would you like to have a shed but weren't affected by the tornado or don't fit into the situations above?  We would still love to have a conversation to see what we can do. If you are willing to pay for the materials necessary to build the shed, we would be happy to provide the volunteers to build it! This is all part of our vision to #RenewMoore!

Come Build With Us!

In our last post, we teased a little bit about the building projects coming up in the fall. We are excited to finally give you a little more info about those upcoming projects!

Starting in August, Serve Moore volunteers will be working with other long term recovery organizations to build houses in the affected areas. The Serve Moore team is excited to help local families who are still struggling to recover after the tornados in May 2013. We will absolutely need skilled and unskilled volunteers to help with these house builds!

Not only will we be building houses, but we will also be continuing to build many fences, as well as more sheds. We hope to continue helping homeowners finalize recovery by aiding them in these last steps. In addition to building sheds and fences, we've been renewing properties through gardening, and even painting homes. 

As we begin new Build Projects, we will also be continuing with Renewal. This summer, we have already been busy with Playground Builds across the city (including Briarwood Elementary, Plaza Towers Elementary, and Little River Park). We have worked along side the City of Moore Parks & Rec Department, as well as organizations like Kaboom! In the fall, we plan to build several neighborhood parks in our effort to #RenewMoore.

We would love for you to join us in these projects to build houses, fences, sheds, and playgrounds - as well as all our other projects going on to Rebuild and Renew Moore. Starting in August, we have tons of weeks available to bring volunteers! Contact us for more information or sign up here to volunteer!

 

 

Summer of Renewal

This summer, Serve Moore volunteers have been busy doing many different kinds of good work. Not only are we continuing to build fences and sheds to aid in homeowner recovery and renewal, but we are also finding areas of debris that are being cleaned for the first time since the tornado hit a year ago. 

For some, the final steps to recovery...

Fences continue to be a very important piece of homeowner recovery because many cannot obtain an occupancy permit without a fence. Volunteers have been putting up fences all across the city providing safety, security, and that last step of recovery. Serve Moore sheds have also been a big help to homeowners who have been paying for storage units or those who are ready to move back into a smaller home. Every day, groups build shed kits at HQ, as well as assemble sheds in homeowners' yards. Beyond this, volunteers have helped with landscaping, painting, and other projects to renew homes and properties. It's part of our passion to #RenewMoore. 

For others, we're only getting started...

While we are working hard to renew the city, we are still finding areas in need of basic recovery. Many parks and properties have been cluttered with debris for over a year. Serve Moore has been partnering with the City of Moore to find the places still in need of clean-up. This summer, volunteers have gone to work to finally clean these areas with great excitement. 

The Excitement Builds for the Fall

As the good work to serve and renew Moore continues, excitement builds of what is to come. As that excitement builds, so will we! Toward the end of the summer, Serve Moore volunteers will begin building houses. These projects will last through the fall, so we are taking volunteer reservations for the months following August!

Join the team at servemoore.com/serve


A Statement on The Future of #ServeMoore

The words "Thank You" just seem so small. We've always seen Serve Moore as a team effort but we're talking about a team that's just rolled past 42,000 people strong. How do you tell that many people you deeply appreciate their partnership; that thousands of residents are grateful for their service; or that an entire community is forever-changed by their presence? 

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