Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO) unveiled the Impact Oklahoma Kitchen on March 27 at its Carolyn Williams Center, a transitional housing program for young men in Oklahoma City. More than 200 people attended the celebration.
Construction and furnishing of the new commercial kitchen were funded through Impact Oklahoma’s 2013 Education Grant.
This kitchen provides the men, ages 18-23, the opportunity to learn how to cook on their own. It replaced a much smaller kitchen in the 16-bed, dormitory-style complex.
Before living at the center, many of the men aged out of foster care with nowhere to go, or were homeless. This NSO program provides them a safe, stable home for up to two years as they learn to live independently while working or attending school full-time.
Winfred, a current resident, told his story during the open house event. He has attended culinary arts school in the past and said he looks forward to cooking with the other residents.
"We’re so thankful to Impact Oklahoma for the grant for the kitchen and for the widespread support of the Carolyn Williams Center," said Stacey Ninness, NSO president. "This kitchen is a great addition. It is so vital that these young men learn to cook for themselves."
NSO also operates an emergency shelter program at the Carolyn Williams Center. It allows homeless young men to stay for up to 90 days.
The United Methodist-related agency serves disadvantaged people in Oklahoma City at multiple locations. NSO programs include:
- Transitional housing
- Permanent supportive housing for homeless adults with mental health needs
- Rental assistance programs
- A dental clinic (during April, free oral cancer screenings are offered)
- WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) clinics.
NSO has a 95-year tradition of offering help to those who most need it. (www.NSOokc.org.)
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Winfred, Tyler, and NSO staff member Heidi Lobdell prepare punch in the new kitchen for the Carolyn Williams Center open house event in Oklahoma City.
Photo by Jared Dryden