Alumni band together to give a hand up 'A Hand Called Ruth' works to clothe needy children
If Paige Bailey, Deanna Layman and Karlie Scharrer have their way, boxes will arrive at an orphanage in India later this year.
They will be personally addressed to each of the 80 children (who range in age from nine to 18) who call the orphanage home. Inside will be a new set of clothes, something the children have never had.
A Hand Called Ruth is a non-profit organization run by one current and two former OC students. The three of them met while they were in the family studies program at Oklahoma Christian.
“In Greek, Ruth means compassion, so we are lending a compassionate hand,” Deanna said.
The initial idea came to Deanna (08) after a sermon on how God calls us to something greater than ourselves.
Knowing there were great needs to be met, but not knowing how to meet them, she went to Karlie (08) and Paige (10) and began to formulate their plan to help the children of the world.
The thought seemed overwhelming, but advice and encouragement from OC professor Dr. Dudley Chancey helped the trio focus and find a way to impact many children.
A Hand Called Ruth is using specially-designed t-shirts to raise funds to clothe the first 80 children and many more down the road. Each shirt purchased is a pledge to clothe one child.
A set of clothing includes a shirt, pants, socks and underwear. All of the clothing for the first shipment has been purchased; Deanna, Karlie and Paige are now raising the funds to ship the items to India.
The group also hosted a benefit concert with OC student Brianna Gaither and plan more events like this in the future.
Paige serves as benefits director for the group. She is in charge of all the fundraising activities. Karlie is clothing director. She takes care of sorting through donations from clothing drives and prepares the new clothes for shipping. Deanna takes care of the business side as executive director.
The trio has also charged each of their husbands to take part in the endeavor. Deanna’s husband, Chase, takes care of the web site and has designed the t-shirts the group sells.
Each of the three women feels their time at Oklahoma Christian intensified their drive for missions.
The work they do for A Hand Called Ruth is in addition to their 9-to-5 jobs.
Deanna works at a nursing and retirement home, Karlie works at Oklahoma Christian as a financial counselor and Paige is completing her degree at OC while interning at Memorial Road Church of Christ.
While Deanna, Karlie and Paige are currently focused on the children of India, they have plans to expand to Honduras.
They also hope to open a local clothing room where families can come and receive clothing for free in a store environment.
To learn more about the mission of A Hand Called Ruth, purchase a t-shirt, or donate funds, go to www.ahandcalledruth.com.
By Allison Shumate (04)