In the community since 1963, Faith 7 Adult Activity Center has offered a two-fold purpose while serving the Shawnee area: offering purpose in the lives of its adult clients — those overcoming delayed or limited development — and providing a much-valued service to local businesses and residents.

In the community since 1963, Faith 7 Adult Activity Center has offered a two-fold purpose while serving the Shawnee area: offering purpose in the lives of its adult clients — those overcoming delayed or limited development — and providing a much-valued service to local businesses and residents.

In following with Faith 7's motto, a mission to independence, the nonprofit's goal is to offer its adult clients productive work where they can earn their own pay, as well as developing skills and positive social interaction with others.

Faith 7 Director Carol Jones said through the center, her employees are able to hold down paying jobs in a safe, monitored and relaxed setting.

Much of what the clients do centers around recycling paper goods.

“They are allowed to work at their own pace, as they feel able,” she said, “doing as much or as little as they want.”

Several area entities have partnered with Faith 7 by utilizing its business services.

“Together we have enriched the lives of our clients and provided a quality product to our customer,” the website states.

One service that keeps the group very busy is confidential shredding, Jones said.

“We have businesses who send us papers to shred,” Jones said. “It's sometimes all we can do to keep up.”

Faith 7 continues to battle a bit of a problem on that front, as its only large industrial shredder rarely functions properly.

There are two smaller ones handling the workload — one of which was just donated a few weeks ago, Jones said.

Local dentist Dr. Brian Drew recently gave Faith 7 a shredder to help with its efforts, which Jones said has been a great help.

In dealing with a large volume of work though, Jones said more are desperately needed. Not trying to be picky she said, but the bigger, the better — industrial grade equipment is most helpful.

The smaller shredders quickly overheat and have to routinely cool down, she said, though clients are thrilled to have them.

“One of our clients typically will use one until it gets hot and then switch to the other while it's cooling down,” she said.

But not all paper needs shredding; the bulk of what clients do is sorting pages and tearing them into smaller, more useful sizes — such as separating book and magazine pages from their binding, Jones said. As clients are paid by the pound for what they sort, the group gets paid by the ton for loads of torn pages.

Some of the products can be used again, like full sheets of newspaper, which Jones said are bundled and sold to area florists for wrapping flowers.

There are several donors of these paper products.

Books and magazines are delivered from area libraries like Shawnee, Tecumseh, Seminole and Oklahoma Baptist University.

Between 20 and 30 local businesses also partner with Faith 7, sending in piles of discarded papers so clients can provide the much-needed service.

The bulk of paper products is brought in by the semi truck load by Central Disposal — from among the recyclables in residents' trash.

Jones said — though she's very thankful for this — when it's possible she would rather receive the paper goods before they become mixed with other garbage. Even though the paper has been separated from other trash and recyclables before it's sent to them, much of the resulting residue is left behind.

She said when Faith 7 picks up paper goods from a donor or group, it often is able to skip the mess that comes along with trash collection — free of the leaks and filth of neighboring debris.

“We are happy to pick up paper donations,” she said. “Whether it's once or on a routine basis.”

As always, volunteering at Faith 7 is encouraged and is much appreciated, Jones said.

“Our clients benefit from a certain level of supervision,” she said, “for their safety and for their social development.”

Jones said volunteers also benefit from interaction with her employees.

In learning about and getting to know the Faith 7 clients Jones said residents will quickly see they aren't really that different.

“Sometimes people are uncomfortable around things they don't know or understand,” she said.

It doesn't take much time to see the joy and comradery of Faith 7's 26 clients at the center. They are a close-knit group.

They participate in many outings and events, Jones said.

“Sports, like bowling, and special olympics events are some of the things they enjoy a lot,” she said. “When they get opportunities to spend time around their peers, they just light up.”

Though it does receive some money from federal and state funds, Faith 7 also depends on gifts and support from the community. To donate, direct funds to Faith 7 Activity Center, 301 S. Kennedy Ave.

To volunteer or for more information, call (405) 275-4223.