A picture of community needs took shape at the Oklahoma State Fair Park on Saturday.
Thousands lined up at Love OKC for free medical care, haircuts, groceries, and connections to jobs and resources. The one-day event drew about 2,000 volunteers who provided services to roughly 5,000 to 6,000 guests who walked through the Oklahoma Expo Hall doors.
“Our goal is for every single person who comes through here to have hope that everything will turn out OK,” Founder and CEO Rodney Fouts said. “It’s not just a handout now. We’re giving them hope.”
The program, now in its eighth year, began after Fouts decided to experience a week of homelessness. Fouts, an Oklahoma City pastor, slept outside during freezing December nights, getting a glimpse of the challenges that the metro area’s homeless population endures year round.
The experience broke preconceived ideas Fouts had of poverty and homelessness, he said. It also inspired him to help fill the needs he saw on the streets.
And Love OKC was born. Fouts created the nonprofit highlighted by a one-day event, where he referred to every visitor as an honored guest.
Dozens of attendees drove to the fairgrounds. Those who lacked transportation took a free bus ride from select school sites.
The event welcomed families of all backgrounds to provide medical services, such as dental extractions, flu shots, physical therapy, eye exams and breast screenings.
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