Several years ago, Dan DeLozier got involved with Share the Spirit at the request of longtime volunteer — the late Mickey Perry.
Share the Spirit Foundation provides food baskets to Rogers County residents each Christmas.
“For about seven years, I’ve helped (Perry) with whatever he needed me to do, mainly hauling the food and getting everything ready for distribution,” DeLozier said. “Whatever Mickey needed done, I tried to assist.”
It seemed appropriate then, after Perry’s passing, that DeLozier assumed the position as president of the board.
“I am honored to have been named president,” DeLozier said. “It’s a very good program. Mickey and Dorothy (Clay) did a great job. They brought it a long way and I expect to continue their efforts.”
He said it is the generosity of Rogers County residents that has allowed Share the Spirit to provide thousands of individuals and families with Christmas dinner over the years.
“The giving of the people of this county is enormous. When they’re called on, they step up,” he said. “We set a goal of $24,000 this year, and it was surpassed.”
Approximately, 800 food baskets were distributed.
“This was the first year for Catoosa and Oologah to have their own distribution sites,” he said. “Inola came on last year.”
DeLozier expects the program to continue to grow in the future.
“There are a lot of people in need,” he said. “ My own feelings are, if there are people in need, I need to find a way to help them, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
He plans to work on further streamlining the program and making it more efficient, so that everyone who needs help is able to receive it.
Part of that is adding to the ranks of dedicated volunteers who help organize, fill and distribute the food.
“We’ve got a lot of good people that help every year, and we have a lot of new people interested in coming on board,” he said. “We’ve also got some organizations that want to help. The City of Claremore has sent people out to assist. Everybody gets involved and since it’s at Christmas time, a giving time anyway, it’s the perfect time to do this.”
DeLozier said seeing the community come together and the appreciation of the recipients makes the work worth it.
“There are so many that get their food and tell us ‘we’re going to have a good meal tonight,’” DeLozier said. “We get a lot of ‘thank you, this is going to make our Christmas.’ That’s why we do it.”
In addition to Christmas food baskets, Share the Spirit also sends Rogers County children to the Salvation Army camp near Tahlequah each summer. Fundraising for Send a Kid to Camp begins in May.