Shawnee Woman Hopes To Help Out Homeless Population - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Shawnee Woman Hopes To Help Out Homeless Population

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Lt. Phillip Canning with the Salvation Army welcomes efforts like Rankin's. Lt. Phillip Canning with the Salvation Army welcomes efforts like Rankin's.
SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -

As community leaders continue trying to find ways to deal with the area homelessness problem, one woman is taking it upon herself to get out and provide what she can to the homeless men and women in the Shawnee area.

Amber Rankin says she got the idea after seeing videos online from other states and countries where young adults went out into the community and provided small bags of things to homeless people.

"They're everywhere and a lot of people are like 'We wish they weren't here,'" said Amber Rankin. "They're our brothers and sisters. We got to help. We're supposed to take care of each other."

Rankin wants make a difference for the people who live in her community with simple gestures of kindness.

"The plan is to make up a small gift bag, maybe throw some food, some snacks. I really, really want to get gift card for some local restaurants or Wal-Mart, nothing anything big," said Rankin.

Lt. Phillip Canning with the Salvation Army welcomes efforts like Rankin's.

"I think it's a great idea to take initiative and to get out and to make a difference in the community in which you live and to impact the lives of real people," said Canning.

He cautions that Rankin's actions, while positive, are not an ultimate solution to homelessness.

"That will help the individual get through another day or another couple of days and what really needs to happen is the community needs to come together as a whole and come up with a battle plan to tack this problem."

Canning has focused on the big picture. He has been working with other community organizations, businesses and civic leaders to come up with a more permanent solution to the poverty in Shawnee.

Still Canning says the interest from a community member, like Rankin, means one more person on his side to talk homelessness. The Salvation Army shelter in Shawnee has been operating at maximum capacity since December, which Canning said highlights the need for a solution.

Rankin has set up a Facebook Page. You can also contact Shawnee's Salvation Army to volunteer (405) 275-2243.

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