For about 10 years, Bixby Outreach Center has provided temporary assistance for families in Bixby and surrounding areas, from a small space on Dawes Avenue.
“We started with about 2,500 feet and that used to be the entire center,” said board member Don Crall.
A second location down the street was purchased to house the center’s food pantry, while the other served as the clothing distribution center. Together, the two total about 4,000 to 5,000 square feet.
Last year, a large donation from Riverview Baptist Church enabled BOC to begin looking for a new home.
Organizers originally intended to build a new facility, but when a church building just across the alley became available, Crall says BOC realized that was its best option.
Since closing on the building, BOC has received a donation of $50,000 from anonymous donor.
Their new space s about four times larger than their current facilities combined.
“We are going from approximately 4,000 to 5,000 square feet to a 20,000 square foot building,” Crall said.
And with a reach of about 100 families each week, BOC staff says the building is a much need improvement.
“It is going to offer us more space and better places to grow and meet the needs of the community better,” said executive director Trish Williams.
Renovations began last month, thanks to area volunteers.
“We’ve had some people come, even as far as Bristow,” said Williams. “They brought their family during the holidays to work. The Boys Home has come. For three days, they sent 20 to 25 boys.”
Plans for the new facility include a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, classrooms, a computer room and allow for overnight and weekend donations. Renovations are expected to be completed March 1.
“What it will mean is we will have the ability to offer more services, even if it is not a service that we are in charge of, we can actually have WIC set up,” Crall said. “Or if DHS needs an office, if we need counseling… we have the ability to set up classrooms and help in ways we’ve never been help.”
While the food pantry and closing center are a big part of how the BOC is help the community, Williams says the center strives to be a “hand up not a hand-out” to its clients.
“We go beyond food and clothing,” she said.
Williams says BOC will need all the help it can get over the few months.
“We are just looking for anyone that wants to help out – monetary or if they know any kind of carpentry or electric skills, we look for any of those kinds of volunteers.”
For more information about BOC, visit bixbyoc.org or call 918-366-9226.