It's not always a Norman Rockwell painting around family dinner tables in Oklahoma City on Thanksgiving, especially if you can't afford the food. But that's where local charitable organizations and churches come in.
About 400 people lined up Monday morning for Thanksgiving dinner packages at Jesus House west of downtown Oklahoma City. Jesus House is one of the many organizations trying to help the needy during the beginning of the holiday season.
“Establishing the need is fairly easy,” said Jack Denny, Jesus House executive director and CEO. “Anyone who will stand in line for hours for groceries is pretty well in need.”
At Jesus House, anyone with an established local address can get the supplies, which will be handed out again Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. until stocks run out.
Denny said people are usually lined up by the dozens each morning well before then.
The packages include frozen turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples such as sweet potatoes, stuffing and vegetables.
“As many things as we can accumulate to give to a family that otherwise may not be able to purchase them” is how Denny described it.
Though times in general have been good recently in Oklahoma City, which has had the nation's lowest employment rate for months, there's still plenty of need in the metro, Denny said.
Seeing the lines Monday confirmed that for him.
Donations for the Jesus House dinners, like many others in the metro, come from local sources.
“It comes from the community, and really that's what we're all about. That's how we're funded here,” Denny said. “It's about support and getting people to help us get behind people in the community.”
Jesus House has a similar effort planned for Dec. 24, when dinners with hams instead of turkeys will be handed out.
Interested donors can call 232-7164 or go to jesushouseokc.org.
Denny said it's easy to see what kind of effect the donations have when thankful smiles cross the faces of those who head home with a holiday meal for their family.
“This is definitely the most stressful time of year for us, but the reward at the end of the day for us is so great,” he said.
AT A GLANCE
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