OKC Shelter Hands Out Thanksgiving Groceries, Hope

Monday, November 21st 2011, 6:38 pm
By: News 9

An Oklahoma City homeless shelter is feeding families this Thanksgiving, even as it works to gain a fresh start itself.  The Jesus House, a longtime provider to those in need, is continuing to give away meals for those who may have none otherwise. 

Rick Denny has been executive director at Oklahoma City's Jesus House for just four months.  He sees the community's need as an opportunity for new ministry. 

"Things like what's goin' on today is just evidence that the future's bright here at the Jesus House," said Denny.  "I think we're well on pace to meet the one thousand basket average."

Denny's well aware of the struggles at the Jesus House.  Controversy over the former director's salary, and allegations of financial mismanagement put a dark cloud over the shelter for months, and donations dropped off considerably. 

"We can't  go back and change the past," Denny said.  "All we can do is work really hard to earn the trust of the people in the future."

Denny has made some changes at the shelter, but the Thanksgiving grocery giveaway remains.  It's one of the shelter's most visible ministries.

People started lining up early Monday morning for the grocery packages, which include a turkey and side vegetables and the makings for dessert.  The woman at the front of Monday's line told Denny she arrived just after midnight. 

"They need the groceries to feed their families," Aaron Cotton said. 

Cotton is warehouse supervisor at the Jesus House.  Cotton though, has been in line waiting for food himself before.  He went through the shelter's program and got himself on the right path after years of drug abuse. 

"Knowin' that you're gonna get something, that you can have something to supply your family with food," he said.  "It's worth it to stand out there."