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Marking 40 years of God’s work


Rick Denny July 31st, 2013

In 1973, two Oklahomans aided only by generous hearts, a few resources and a powerful faith in God opened a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in downtown Oklahoma City.. The humble project that Sister Ruth Wynne and Sister Betty Adams called Jesus House is marking four decades of serving the city’s homeless and hungry.

Each day, most of us wake up in the comforts of our homes and know there will be food on the table and an ability to plan ahead. For many Oklahomans, however, just getting through the day is a struggle.

At Jesus House, we have the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of our neediest neighbors through the various charitable missions we support.

Whether the person is homeless and in need of shelter or a family faced with the decision of paying bills or feeding their kids, we have resources to help them in some small way.

We are blessed with outstanding volunteers and staff members who work hard each day to help provide a better life for the homeless and impoverished in Central Oklahoma. Just last year, our homeless shelter had 309,000 overnight stays; our soup kitchen served 112,000 meals; and our clothing and furniture program provided more than 21,000 items.

We also provide food baskets, street ministry and adopt-a-block outreach programs that send volunteers into the community to help those in need.

I’ve been asked how many people Jesus House has helped over the last 40 years. Unfortunately, virtually no data is available from our first decade, and details from subsequent years are sketchy. We estimate that in the past 30 years, Jesus House has served more than 3 million meals, provided more than 500,000 grocery baskets to needy families and supplied about 9.3 million nightly shelter beds to the homeless.

While those statistics are impressive, the real success stories are found in the countless number of lives changed and the number of people who are off the streets, living clean and sober lives.

From ice storms to heat waves, good times and bad, the people who make Jesus House work are our volunteers and donors.

It’s because of them, and God’s grace, that we can serve the most vulnerable who need our support. Thank you to our hardworking volunteers and generous donors. We look forward to the future blessings that are sure to result from their generosity.

Forty years later, we believe Sister Ruth and Sister Betty would be proud of Jesus House. Their faith, and that of those who have followed, is continuing to be rewarded as lives are changed forever.


Denny, an attorney and homeless advocate, is executive director of Jesus House.


Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

 
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