Along with the many hats Mickey Perry has worn over the years as a public servant, he has also given his time to a host of community organizations.
One is Share the Spirit, which Perry has been involved with for nearly 25 years. Currently, he serves as president of the board.
“I’ve delivered the baskets to residents and helped distribute them at the distribution point,” he said. “As I became more involved, I started coordinating the goods and getting them to the distribution site. I’ve seen it grow from one or two hundred (baskets) to the high of over 1,000 a couple of years ago.”
The program relies on an army of dedicated volunteers, many of whom have helped since the beginning.
“We have several generations of families that come out every year and look forward to it,” he said. “In my own family, my son-in-law helps and my grandsons help.”
Other volunteers include the Claremore High School JROTC.
“They help deliver to the senior citizens building and help carry baskets out to cars at the distribution point,” Perry said. “Claremore High School also has a canned food drive that’s a competition between the grades. Their help has been tremendous.”
For the past several years, Cherokee Nation has donated turkeys.
“With so much community support, we are able to touch every portion of Rogers County,” Perry said.
And across the county, there are so many families who could use a little extra help this Christmas.
“Sometimes bad things happen to good people. It’s very heartwarming to be able to provide a Christmas meal for a family,” Perry said. “All the years I’ve been involved, the recipients have been very appreciative and very deserving. They don’t take it for granted.”
Of course, the generosity of Progress readers makes it all possible.
This year’s Share the Spirit goal is $22,000. So far, $1,265 has been raised with less than three weeks remaining.
“I know money is tight for everyone — especially around this time of year — but I encourage anyone who has an extra dollar or two to give it to this awesome program,” Perry said. “We’re all in this together and we can make a difference for those who are struggling.”
Tax-deductible donations can be made to Share the Spirit, P.O. Box 248, Claremore, OK 74018, or left at the Progress office.
Recent contributors include Jim F. and D. Gayle Evenson, Holiday Hills Homemakers, Albert E. and Shirley L. Morrison, Martha Ross, Linda G. and Jack Trout, Busy Bees OHCE, William H. Hurd, R.W. Larson, George and Robin Hopkins, Johna K. and Kyle L. Haile, John and Kathy Lingenfelter, Barbara and Tom Poole, Frances A. Pranger, David and Judy Brown, James and Barbara Farley, and Musgrove-Merriott-Smith Funeral Service and Crematory.