Families across Oklahoma celebrated Thanksgiving at home with their families on Thursday. It was also a busy holiday at a metro homeless shelter where hundreds of people in need were fed.
More than 300 people in need enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at the Jesus House downtown. Dozens of volunteers were on hand to feed anyone who was hungry. And new this year, they even had a special treat for their four-legged friends.
"It's like everything that happens at our houses, just on a whole different level," Jesus House Executive Director Rick Denny said.
The cooking and prepping started well before midnight at the Jesus House, where volunteers were ready for hundreds hungry for a Thanksgiving dinner.
"The volunteers that come here and serve on holidays feel the same way as we do," Denny said. "This is the place to be for us when it's a holiday."
This holiday was also a treat for pets with homeless owners.
"What we know is with the elderly and with the homeless, their pets are so important to them. Many times that's the only family they have," OKC Pet Food Pantry Founder Kim Pempin said.
Those furry family members were taken care of by about 30 volunteers while their owners were served inside.
"What they're doing is, they're taking a pet and they're responsible for that pet to walk around to each of the stations. They love on them and feed them lunch," Pempin said.
Those with the OKC pet food clinic and Mann's Food Pantry set up the drop-off center. The Spot Clinic even offered low-cost vaccinations and vouchers for other services. And donated pet food went home with grateful owners.
"I mean it is Thanksgiving and we have all these people here giving their time because they love the homeless. They love the animals. This right here shows what this community's like," Pempin said.
The Jesus House is reopening its doors for dinner Thursday night. It's also helped more than 1,300 low income families with Thanksgiving groceries this week.
The OKC Pet Food Clinic plans to partner with The Jesus House again at Christmas.
For more information or to volunteer, go to www.Jesushouseokc.org or www.petfoodpantryokc.org