In Tulsa on the two days before Thanksgiving, hundreds of community volunteers packed and handed out more than 20,000 pounds of food at United Methodist-related Restore Hope Ministries to neighbors in need.
The holiday baskets included more than 6,000 pounds of turkey.
Volunteers of all ages and from diverse backgrounds served shoulder-to-shoulder.
Among the sponsors and volunteers were church groups, Boy Scouts, and families. Tulsa-Memorial Drive UMC had collected 3,400 dimes to help purchase turkeys. Broken Arrow-Heritage UMC members worked on-site.
The Haws family has adopted and supported Restore Hope’s basket project as a Thanksgiving family tradition through several generations.
"Our dad supported Restore Hope in so many ways when he was alive," Diane Powell said. "Every year he made sure there were fresh celery, carrots, and onions in the Thanksgiving baskets for families to use for cooking. We all worked together to distribute the baskets, too.
"Even though he is no longer with us, this brings our family together, and we serve to remember and to help our neighbors in their time of need."
Each basket’s 21 ingredients included a turkey and all the trimmings, from fresh produce to dessert. Families registered at Restore Hope during the first two weeks of November.
The agency’s executive director, Jeff Jaynes, said that far too many Tulsans worry about how they will feed their children, let alone prepare a holiday meal. Over 90 percent of Tulsa Public School students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches, he noted.
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