Volunteers give away Christmas food baskets at Jesus House

Hundreds of people received groceries Monday morning at the Jesus House in Oklahoma City. Volunteers hoped the baskets would help the needy have a good Christmas dinner.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Modified: December 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm •  Published: December 25, 2012
Advertisement
;

Augusta Ramirez lost her husband two days before Thanksgiving.

As if losing her husband and father of her five children wasn't enough, the loss of his income has made it even tougher to make Christmas merry. But thanks to the Jesus House, the Ramirez family will get Christmas dinner Tuesday.

Ramirez was among hundreds of people who got a turkey, ham and a bag full of groceries Monday at the Jesus House. Volunteers also gave away toys and about 350 televisions.

“We've been relying on the local food pantries,” Ramirez said while waiting for volunteers to load her car. “Thanksgiving was hard, and Christmas is even harder without their father.”

Terria Rollins said she couldn't afford to buy a turkey this year, let alone a new television.

“It's a blessing, a real blessing,” Rollins said. “You don't always get that. A lot of people out here are in the Christmas spirit. The volunteers are just great.”

Cars lined up around the block from the Jesus House all morning Monday.

Kevin Smith, operations manager for the Jesus House, said organizing the grocery giveaway is a challenge, but the group is getting better at it each year.

“It's bigger than it has been in the past,” Smith said. “We did 350 food baskets today in our first two and a half hours.”

All of the food given away Monday was donated, most of it by individuals, Smith said. The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma also helped.

Smith said the Jesus House is expecting an influx of people to its shelter if a winter storm hits as predicted Tuesday.

“If the weather gets bad, we will be here to help however we can,” Smith said.