Restaurant Owner Feeds Those in Need

Thursday, December 17th 2009, 7:57 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A metro restaurant owner is making a difference by feeding anyone who's hungry free of charge.

At Southwest 35th and Western Avenue in Oklahoma City, Sooner BBQ is open for business. For years, Cecil Clay has helped the homeless, and this year he says, even families are stopping by. Every morning for decades, Clay, who owns Sooner BBQ, fires up the cookers.

"I was just born five blocks down the street. So really I haven't went far in life, have I?" Clay said as he laughed.

Clay may not travel far to get to work each day, but he's come a long way in strengthening the neighborhood.

"We're not some big organization, or what have you. We're a community helping people in the community," Clay said.

Clay along with his family, friends and even strangers started out cooking Christmas dinner years ago for people who were hungry and homeless for the holiday. Soon his business turned into not just a regular eating spot for paying customers, but one for those without money to spare.

"When you see, and you're here working, and you're here involved, it's a feeling that comes over you. It's something money can't buy," Clay said.

There's only one requirement if you're asking for food at Sooner BBQ's back door. Clay said you cannot be using drugs or alcohol.

Clay is a simple man making an overwhelming difference.

"He's more than willing to make sure they've got a full stomach. Gives them two or three meals. If they say, I've got folks at home or somebody that needs some food, he loads them up," said William Allison, a regular customer at Sooner BBQ.

It hasn't always been an easy or profitable life for Clay at his barbeque business, but he said it certainly has been a good one.

"We're not just talking dollars and cents. We're talking about a way of life, and I believe that's what this country was built on. I believe that's what made it strong," Clay said.

Sooner BBQ feeds hungry Oklahoman's every year on Christmas Day.