Oh for a world where goods are shared
And misery relieved
Where truth is spoken, children spared,
You might be familiar with this hymn based upon I Corinthians 1:27-29. It’s one of my favorites, and as I was singing it, realized it well encapsulates one of the many impressively unique things about Putnam City Schools, CareShare. I remember being a teacher and encouraging my students to raise funds for this program, but in my new role with the Foundation, I appreciate this group all the more.
CareShare was started in 1982 by a Putnam City counselor, Penny Poe, who realized that some children in her school would not have a present to open on Christmas morning. She set about to change that, and today CareShare helps more than 1,000 children each year “hold on to their hopes,” as Mrs. Poe said. The logistics that go into collecting the forms from community people willing to adopt a family, then matching those forms with the children themselves, using donated funds to shop for other children, then ensuring that the gifts are bagged together and given to the right parents is no easy feat. It takes dozens of volunteers and is capably led by Sherri Boyd, a Putnam City graduate who has also raised her children in Putnam City.
My students and I always enjoyed coming up with fun ways to raise money for our adopted family, and then taking those dollars to a discount store for gifts. It isn’t too hard to get the $100 per child together, and it served as a bonding opportunity for the class. When I had my own business, we also adopted a family and were able to raise hundreds of dollars from our patrons. It was truly a joy to be a part of something so spirit-filled at Christmastime.
The CareShare volunteers also use some donations to purchase shoes and coats for our children who lack those items. These are available as needed year round due to Oklahoma’s capricious weather.
It is CareShare time again, and I encourage you to get your family, your business, and your religious institution to adopt at least one family in Putnam City this year. We can make such a difference for our children, and it takes very little from us. We at the Foundation will be sharing CareShare stories from the past throughout the month of October as we collect forms. Please visit the Foundation homepage and click on the CareShare adoption form under the Quick Links tab.