The Oklahoma State Fair is just around the corner once again—Sept. 13-23—and the countdown to foot-long corndogs, huge cinnamon rolls and funnel cakes has begun!

The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma sponsors a Chaplain’s Corner every year during the Oklahoma State Fair.

“It’s a place where people stop to talk, and we can have a witness for our Lord by offering them free coffee, water and a snack,” said Paul Bettis, BGCO chaplaincy specialist.  “We also will be giving other free items to people with our name and number on it so they can contact us later. We have only a small amount of funding in our budget for this ministry.”

Bettis prays churches will be interested in participating in this much-needed ministry.

In the past, groups have assembled bags filled with personal hygiene items and sent them to the chaplaincy office or brought them to the Baptist Building.

“Churches can use this as a mission project with all ages participating to assemble the bags,” Bettis said. “However, because of a State Fair rule, you may not place any tracts, denominational or church promoting materials in the bags. You are more than welcome to place a Scripture inside. To give out tracts or denominational materials, you must lease a booth from the State Fair.”

Bettis said the BGCO’s volunteer chaplains give these bags to fair employees who work on the midway as they talk with them about their relationship with the Lord, but the chaplains are not allowed to prosoletyte.

“Several midway workers have been won to Jesus through this ministry,” he said.

Below is a list of items needed churches may help provide.

Coke products (per State Fair Rules) in cans, wrapped cookies & peanut butter crackers, snacks, etc., white tube socks, $1 plastic rain slickers (Wal-Mart), and blankets.

“We use travel-size toiletry items such as razors, shaving cream, washcloths, or wipes, tissues, combs, powder, toothpaste/toothbrush, hand lotion, shampoo, etc. to put into small plastic bags,” Bettis explained. “Other items needed are Ibuprofen, Aleve, coffee, cough drops, Benadryl Caplets, eye rinse, creamer & sugar in packets, small and medium plastic bags and sunblock.

Items may be delivered to Bettis at the Baptist Building located at 3800 N. May Ave. in Oklahoma City. Items should be delivered by Sept . 10 to have them taken to the fairgrounds by the start of the fair.

“We are also always happy to accept monetary donations for items needed,” Bettis added.  “We use monetary donations to purchase bottled water, ice to keep it cold and additional snacks. If you wish to use this option, please make your check payable to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, designate it ‘Chaplain’s Corner,’ and mail it to Bettis at the Chaplaincy Office, 3800 N. May, Oklahoma City 73112.