Terra Wright said she had only one chance to get to a local shelter for a free turkey and all the other staples of a holiday meal.
Tuesday, Wright, 29, was one of the last metro-area residents to receive a Thanksgiving basket at the Jesus House's annual holiday basket giveaway. The last day of the three-day giveaway event is Wednesday from 8 a.m. until the turkeys are gone, shelter officials said.
Wright said the food was all that stood between a meal of Hamburger Helper and a traditional Thanksgiving feast for her and her children.
“It kind of means Thanksgiving for us,” she said.
The young mother was one of about 400 individuals to receive a turkey from the Jesus House, 1335 W Sheridan Ave., Tuesday. The giveaway also included sacks with foods such as stuffing mix, canned goods and potatoes.
Wright said she is between jobs. She said her estranged husband took her car and money over the weekend and left her and their children without a way to get around or funds to buy food. She said she and her 3-year-old daughter found a ride to the Jesus House on Tuesday, hoping that they would make it before the giveaway closed for the day. Wright said she found out her car had been impounded, and she wasn't sure she would be able to get back to the shelter on Wednesday.
Other residents said they, too, appreciated the holiday bounty.
“It's a blessing that they do this because a lot of people don't have food for Thanksgiving,” a woman who preferred to be called only “Gloria,” said Tuesday.
Another woman, “Corena,” who picked up a free turkey Tuesday, said she waited in line for about an hour to get her free Thanksgiving groceries.
“I feel blessed that I got one,” she said. “I needed it, and it will be put to good use because we have a big family.”
Meeting the need
Rick Denny, the shelter's executive director, said the law firm GableGotwals donated 88 turkeys to the shelter Tuesday afternoon.
Tom Gruber with the law firm said the donation amounted to an estimated 1,200 pounds of turkey.
“This is a joyous time of the year, and we thought we ought to give back to the community,” he said.
Gruber said the law firm has offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and includes about 72 attorneys.
Denny said the shelter gave out about 350 Thanksgiving baskets on each day of its three-day holiday meal giveaway last year. He said the need has increased this year, with an estimated 400 grocery baskets to be given out Wednesday and 400 given away each of the previous two days.
Denny said he did not know why the need seemed greater this year.
“For each person in line, there's a different story. We try not to get into all that,” he said. “If we see a need, we want to fill it.”