TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Boys' Home has been providing a last beacon of hope for neglected, abused, and troubled children in the Tulsa metro area for over a century and they need the communities help now more than ever.
The Tulsa Boys' Home campus has been shut off from the public for the past six weeks to keep their kids safe from the coronavirus.
"If the virus were to get here, it would spread like a wildfire," said Gregg Conway, the director of the Tulsa Boys' Home. "We are taking this very seriously. So, no one is coming in or out except maintenance team and those who take care of the boys. Everyone usually in the office is working from home."
Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, the nonprofit can not traditionally host one of their biggest fundraisers of the year.
This would have been the 16th year for their annual Run For The Roses fundraising event. Usually over 700 people attend the event each year and staff say the money that comes from it is vital.
“You know how teenage boys can eat, well our guys can eat and its a big food bill," Conway said. "It’s a $240,000 a year just for the food. So, the Run For the Roses event is really where we earmark to cover the cost of that food budget."
Despite the event's traditional methods being canceled, staff at the boy's home are not giving up. Instead, they are making the event digital.
"We are going to do the first ever Tulsa Boys' Home virtual Run For the Roses," Conway said.
An additional first, the residents will be the jockeys of a campus derby. The winning jockey and horse will even receive a blanket of roses like the winners at the Kentucky Derby.
"The guys are tickled about it they are just so excited and I think everyone is," Conway said. "There's defiantly a buzz in the air here."
While this new spin on a Tulsa Boys' Home is an exciting change to lift the spirits of the residents, it's also a hopeful move to foster continued support from the community.
"The community had been supporting the Tulsa Boys' Home since 1918 and we hope that trend will continue on and through then then after this crazy time that we’re in," Conway said.
The Tulsa Boys' Home is still hosting the silent and live auction done in conjunction with this annual event. The silent auction starts on Tuesday, April 28 at 11 a.m. To look at items up for grabs, click here.
The live auction will start on Saturday, May 2.
To watch the boys race in this year's Tulsa Boys' Home Virtual Run For the Roses, click here.
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