Krista is a young mother of two children 8 months and 5 years. With her oldest child in the process of getting tested for special needs, she is facing additional challenges both financially and emotionally.
Krista lives around the corner from Harvest House which is convenient. She used to have enough food each month when she had a roommate with SNAP benefits. Since the roommate has moved out, she finds it is difficult to stretch her food budget each month. Her bi-monthly paycheck working security for a local casino means she earns too much to qualify for SNAP benefits.
Harvest House helps her with many essentials every other month like clothes, diapers and formula, as well as food they purchase from the local Food Bank and other local vendors. Reflecting on what it means to have generous donors to these programs, Krista quickly pointed out, “Thank you, without you, there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t have what they need.”
Michaela drives past Harvest House almost every day. But one day Michaela was driving past and just happened to see it for the first time, probably because the van was parked directly outside. The last time she had used an agency for assistance was over a year ago. But now she is taking care of her two adult children with disabilities and her five grandchildren. She counts her blessings just that they have a place to live with water and heat.
“I can usually make ends meet, but lately I find we are running short and need more food,” Michaela told us. “It’s food and clothing where I need help meeting the needs of the children. With food and clothing assistance from Harvest House, I found that I (and many others) have our needs met. “
Bernard found himself homeless for the first time five months ago. He mentioned, “This winter has been cold. It was hard.” Before that, he was taking care of and living with his disabled father who appeared to be dying. Step-family members invoked power of attorney and left Bernard without a place to live. Fortunately, he had a chance encounter with a friend of his, who like Bernard is a military veteran. His friend mentioned the Community Service Council’s BRRX4VETS (Barracks for Vets) Program to him and they helped get Bernard set up with housing, housing supplies including a bed.
He was so grateful to have found Harvest House, one of the Tulsa area’s premier agencies. “This is my first time to this dance. I just got housing and now I have food and great clothes. I am so blessed. I know things are going up for me from here.”
For a while, Franki lived with just her adult son and they could just make ends meet. With no small children in the house, they could prepare simple meals as needed. That all changed when Franki’s daughter died leaving her with four children to care for. On top of that, she took in 2 other children. All of a sudden it cost more to feed the children than she earned.
She now receives SNAP benefits, and she can usually make them last through most of every month, but if there is no school in session due to a vacation or break, it drives up her food bill dramatically.
When she finds that she needs to supplement her food supply she will go to Harvest House, the food pantry that lets her select the food she wants and gives the family a week’s worth of food with each visit. “They provide a variety of food, and they take care of my physical and mental needs.” She went on to state further, “I feel comfortable coming here, and they treat me like a person, with respect. At some other places, I felt shame going there, but here I don’t feel any shame. They won’t ever make me pray, but they will pray for me if I want them to; and they make me feel good.”
Franki said how grateful she was for the food that was provided by Harvest House. “I know there is a stereotype of people who need help with food, but now there are so many families and elderly people that need help. If it wasn’t for this gift, we might be homeless or just not eating. I wish I could thank each and every one of the people who volunteer at Harvest House and those who made the donations to provide this food.”
John & Kayla have been coming in to Harvest House to get food for the past few months. This particular day when they came in and were filling out their paperwork, they seemed unusually happy and excited.
John suddenly announced, "This is the last time we'll be coming in to Harvest House for food". He continued, "I am starting a construction job tomorrow". He was smiling and standing in front of me looking a few inches taller and full of confidence and pride (the good kind). He thanked me for all the food Harvest House had provided for them and said "I don't know what we would have done without this food assistance".
I congratulated him on his new job and assured him that they were welcome to come back and have a sack lunch if they needed one as it would probably take a couple of weeks before he would be receiving a pay check. The smile on his face got even bigger. His new job was going to pay him daily. As I handed them their food, he thanked me again and they left. They haven't returned for assistance.