Giving Not So Given

Giving Not So Given

Jesus House sits on W. Sheridan in Oklahoma City. The organization is collecting donations to provide those in need with food for the holiday season. (Dylan Brown/The Vista)

The Jesus House recovery program is struggling to obtain donations for their annual food basket giveaway with under a month left until Thanksgiving.

Last year, Jesus House was able to give away over 2,000 baskets full of Thanksgiving dinners, but they are now asking for support for their food basket giveaway.

“What we do to prepare for Thanksgiving is a lot,” said Michael Bateman, executive director of Jesus House. “Our big thing is the food basket giveaway that we do every Christmas and Thanksgiving, and our biggest donation event is our Thanksgiving one. We give away about 1,500 baskets every year.”

Jesus House is currently struggling to have the right amount of food to be able to feed those in need this holiday season.

“Right now we have about two turkeys and about 30 cans of green beans and other vegetables,” Bateman said. “We have been told that we have a lot of stuffing coming in here pretty soon. I know that Halloween just ended so people are gearing up for Thanksgiving now and we need help.

The program counts on Oklahomans everywhere to dedicate their time and help in order to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving.

According to statistics from the Homeless Alliance, in 2017 there was a total of 1,368 people experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City every day. However, an annual report found that 7,000 Oklahomans are considered homeless.

“We need Oklahomans to step up,” Bateman said. “Oklahomans always seem to step up around this time of year, they just need to realize that we are still here.”

Jesus House typically receives more volunteers than actual donations for the baskets they give away.

“Last year, we were inundated with about 2,000 turkeys all together,” said Bateman. “That is not even counting the sides we received, so it usually turns out to be a lot of food.”

The list of items needed for the baskets include: turkeys, mashed potatoes, chicken broth, canned yams and much more.

“It is about caring, it’s about getting involved,” Bateman said. “It’s about doing something good for someone else. We have people lined up in our food line every day that we help, especially on Thanksgiving. They are in the line, not because they want to, but because they have to. So, we just encourage people to give a little bit because it goes a long way.”

Volunteer shifts for the Jesus House start Nov. 20 and information on how to sign up can be found at jesushouse.org.

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