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Kathy Garza, inspired by God, has left a legacy of giving
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Kathy Garza, inspired by God, has left a legacy of giving

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It is with sadness in our hearts that we announce the passing of Kathy Garza.

Skiatook First Assembly issued a statement saying, “It is with sorrow and rejoicing we announce the passing of our own sister Kathy Garza. Miss Kathy went home to be with Jesus leaving behind her poor health and receiving the brand new body she’s so longed for. How fitting that today is possibly the busiest day of the year for the ministry she created through her spirit and hard work. Her concern was always in the care and feeding of others, and that is what will be done today on her behalf and in Jesus’ name. Final arrangements have not yet been planned but will be announced when they are known. Please pray for Kathy‘s family, her many close friends, the church that loves her, and the ministry that was her heart. Although we will miss her, we know she was ready, and we rejoice with her!”

Garza spent her life taking care of God’s children, as she put it. She passed away on Thursday, November 18, 2021, on what is one of the biggest days of the year for her ministry, when the Heaven Sent Food Pantry passes out Thanksgiving food. Her efforts and support of the community earned her respect and admiration from the community. She was an inspiration to so many and helped countless numbers of people and families.

Garza was the 2018 Skiatook Journal Person of the Year for her work with Heaven Sent.

Heaven Sent Coat Closet started passing out coats to local residents in October 2016, and the ministry has just continued to grow. Garza joined the ministry and started a food pantry. “I did it because God asked me to. He told me that we needed an emergency food pantry.” So Garza asked permission to start the food pantry but was never really given the go-ahead to start.

“One day, I just cleaned out and room and got it going,” Garza said in an interview from 2017. She bought a shelf, a grocery cart and $100 worth of groceries. All of the food was gone the first week. “There is such a need out there. And God never fails,” she said. And the ministry grew.

Heaven Sent serves around 50 families each week and around 75 families each week during the summer. They offer clothing, food, toiletries and prayer. They also help visitors with other local resources that can help them. They help people in Skiatook, Sperry, Avant and Collinsville. The ministry will continue with Garza’s legacy, passion, and divine inspiration as its foundation.

“She always had an ear for God,” one of the volunteers said.

Garza knew what she was called to do, and she gave it her all. “These are my people,” Garza said in an interview from 2020. “Christ wants you to love on people, and so I love on the people that come here. I want them to see Christ through me. God provides. I just do what he tells me to do and go pick up all the food,” Garza said. She spends six days a week making sure the food pantry is stocked and ready for people in need. “I just love this community and want to serve all of the people here.”

One of the Person of the Year nominations said, “She makes everyone feel welcome and offers prayers and encouragement to those who need it and want it. She continually gives of herself.” Another said, “I could almost guarantee there is not a single family in town that has not been helped in one way or another through Kathy’s ministry.”

Another Person of the Year nomination said, “If someone is in need, Kathy will drop everything she is doing to help better their lives,” said one nomination. “If people cannot afford air conditioning in the summer, she will rally the community to buy a window unit. If people lose their home to a fire, she will rally the community to donate clothes of their sizes. The greatest gift she can receive is not for herself, but a box cargo van with groceries for the people of Skiatook.”

Garza also helps other local ministries to fill their food pantries. “When we work together, we can stay on top of things. There is no reason anyone should go to bed hungry,” she said.

“I do it for God,” Garza said in 2020. “He has to do all the work. I’m just his hands, his feet and his voice. He brings the food, and He brings the people. I am humbled and blessed at what He is able to do. It is such an honor that the people of Skiatook feel this way about me. I’m just doing what He told me to do.

Suzanne Truax will make sure that Heaven Sent keeps doing the work that God put on Garza’s heart.

“Kathy was like a sister to me,” Truax said. “When I started with this her, I just wanted to help her out because I didn’t work a regular job. I realized she was going to depend on me to take over, so I just learned everything. I’ll just pray about what happens next because so don’t know. She thought about other people’s needs before her own a giving person.”

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Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Chastain was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.

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