Toni Moore, President and CEO of Hospitality House of Tulsa.
We all know the famous line from The Wizard of Oz, but for thousands of people pulled away from home caring for loved ones, no phrase could ring truer.
That’s where the Hospitality House of Tulsa comes in. The nonprofit agency helps patients and caregivers by providing lodging, meals, prayer support, laundry service and transportation assistance to those who find themselves clicking their red heels together, wishing they too could be home.
President and CEO Toni Moore, herself, was a family member of someone who needed long-term care in the hospital. “My mom was battling breast cancer when I was only a teenager. I was in complete awe of how our local community took an active role in taking care of my family’s needs.”
Years later, she moved to Broken Arrow and became active in a church that asked her to describe her experiences and how fellow members could also extend a helping hand to those in need. Thus, so it began. Fifteen years later and they have served more than 5,500 families from all 77 counties in Oklahoma, 47 states and seven foreign countries. The vision, “showing the world Christian love through boundless hospitality.”
The organization has grown to provide 23 family suites as well as a day room for temporary needs of families on their waiting list. Fully supported by donations from individuals, corporations and churches, an idea was born for the ultimate fundraiser, the Gurney Tourney race.
The Route 66 Gurney Tourney, set to take place on the University of Tulsa campus May 11, puts competitors “head to head and bed to bed.” Each team garners donations, decorates their bed and sets off to compete against other teams. “It’s not just a race, “explains Toni. “We also have various obstacle courses along the way that bring awareness to many of the challenges patients endure during extended hospital stays.
This year’s theme, “No Place Like Home,” is a great opportunity for businesses, churches and families to not only raise funds for the Hospitality House of Tulsa, but to also bring awareness. “The event has grown over the last five years. We have anywhere from 15 to 20 teams, each bringing their own group of supporters,” says Toni. Categories include best in fundraising, crowd pleaser and best dressed.
Fret not if you’re unsure about risking your life on a gurney racing through curves at a rapid speed. You can always become a sponsor or volunteer. Besides the actual race, there will be a children’s station as well as activities around all the obstacle courses. “It’s a fun day with a lot of laughter, comradery and citizens helping a great cause,” boasts Toni.
The goal this year is $66,000, which coincides with the event’s location, near Route 66. The fun begins at 10 a.m. Teams can register at hhtulsa.org by April 20. If you’d like more information on becoming a sponsor or volunteering for the event, call 918-794-0088 (extension 205) or visit www.hhtulsa.org/gurneytourney.
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