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Burn Barn


Continued from Page 17


She and her teenaged and toddler daughters arrived home one day to fi nd smoke billowing out the windows of their home. Jacobs said a neighbor attempted to open the door to save the family pets, but all three dogs perished from smoke inhalation—two had been furry members of the family for 10 years. Jacobs said her toddler is still scared and not sleeping due to the trauma. To make matters worse, looters stole undamaged valuables. “We lost everything,” Jacobs said, sim-


ply.


The Burn Barn stores furniture and house goods and distributes them to families who have lost their homes in a fi re. Photo by Jocelyn Pedersen


Jacobs received a voucher from the Red Cross and went to see Brown at the Burn Barn where she received household goods, food and even some diapers.


“If it hadn’t been for them, we wouldn’t have a bed to sleep in. We went into this new apartment with no beds, nothing,” Jacobs said. “She gave us a couple beds, a couch, a chair, a table, and linens—all kinds of wonderful stuff. It was such a blessing at a perfect time. I couldn’t be more grateful for what they do.” Some of the mattresses and household goods come from Sam’s Club in Norman, which Brown said is one of the Burn Barn’s major benefactors. Farrokh Moinian, manager of the Norman Sam’s Club, said he’s been involved with the Burn Barn through the


Walmart Sam’s Foundation for over seven years, helping by donating items from the store when, for example, product lines change. “We’re focused on fi ve things in our club: hunger relief, Meals on Wheels and the food bank, Annette’s Maguire Community Foundation, the Children’s Miracle Network and multiple sclerosis,” Moinian said. “Giving back to the community is the founda- tion DNA of our company.”


Moinian explained that Walmart and Sam’s Club founder, Sam Walton’s wife, Helen Walton, was the one who championed giving back to the community. Moinian added that he and his employees are trying to live her dream.


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Through the help of countless volunteers and donors, Brown has helped thousands over the years. Not only does she run the Burn Barn, but through her Christmas Proj- ect, she sends between fi ve and seven gifts each to 1,700 mentally challenged and/or el- derly people living in group homes or nurs- ing homes; she also sends each one of them a handmade card for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and their birthday—that’s approximate- ly 10,000 gifts and over 5,000 cards per year. Brown coordinates the receipt of new items to give as gifts as well as the teams of vol- unteers who help wrap and distribute of all of them—while simultaneously running the Burn Barn.


Humble to the core, Brown said, “I want to make the person who comes for assistance feel better. They’re smiling and happy when they leave here. I get hugs, handshakes and God bless yous. When someone comes for help, you want to make them feel better.”


Making people feel better is something Brown is good at. Visitors are not likely to leave without a handshake, a hug from Brown or perhaps a little friendly attention from BC, her cat. All this compas- sion and caring comes in a package wearing a smile that can turn a bad day into a good one. Donations to the Burn Barn can be made through the Maguire Community Foundation, Inc., a non- profi t 501(c)(3) organization, by calling the Browns at 405-872-3853. OL


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