It’s a part of OU Outreach you may or may not be familiar with. They don’t advertise their services loudly; they don’t shout about their good deeds, and they only work with a few (anonymous) people each year.
Each year the Quality of Life Committee (QOL) helps Outreach employees with school supplies and Christmas presents through their QOL Angel Connection programs. To provide for families who can’t afford Christmas presents for their kids, QOL connects those families with others anonymously. The families in need request two needs and a want and numerous employees volunteer to sponsor individual gifts or sometimes multiple gifts. The committee raises money for the school supplies through a yearly fundraiser called Salad for School Supplies, where staff members can buy a ticket to enjoy a delicious salad bar, with all the money going to help kids have the school supplies they need. Additionally, some departments conduct their own fundraisers to help QOL, including an annual bake sale.
“We really do think of Outreach as one big family,” said James Pappas, vice president for Outreach. “The efforts of groups like the Quality of Life committee demonstrate that fact dramatically. I’m very proud of the concern for others shown by our staff.”
In addition to filling those two needs, the Quality of Life committee is also occasionally involved in special circumstances, such as providing relief for victims of the recent tornado disasters. The committee accepted cash donations from employees and was able to provide Visa gift cards to five families with varied levels of need.
“Several families actually said ‘no’ because they felt others needed assistance more,” said Belinda Tate, committee lead. “This just goes to show how generous and thoughtful the OU Outreach family is.”
In the 17 years since Dr. Pappas created the committee, it has met every need that has been requested. QOL has quietly served OU Outreach with devotion and kindness. It’s the sometimes little-known programs like QOL that reveal OU Outreach as a warm and welcoming family.