The holiday season is in full effect, with Halloween just passing and Thanksgiving approaching rapidly. Before we know it, Christmas will be here! Holidays leave numerous families in a lot of stress, whether that is trying to provide presents, paying bills, or even putting a meal on the table. Every parent wants to be able to give their children gifts or a special meal, and when they can’t, it’s heartbreaking.
Restore Hope Ministries helps provide groceries to low income families in the Tulsa County area. During the Thanksgiving holidays, we help families celebrate and share a special time together without the hassle of spending hundreds of dollars on the meal. Restore Hope alone provides a Thanksgiving meal to 600 families in the area.
I personally scouted two local grocery stores in Tulsa, Oklahoma for regular-priced groceries during the holidays. A normal holiday meal costs around $71 for a 2-3 person household. This year, we saved over $28,000 by using the food bank and avoiding buying products in bulk-selling stores like Sam’s, Wal-Mart, and Reasors; it only costs us around $32 a basket to feed a family during the holidays. The items we provide to clients in our Thanksgiving baskets are: turkey, corn, green beans, peas, applesauce, fruit cocktail, peaches, butter, cake mix, carrots, potatoes, cornbread mix, jello, marshmallows, whipped topping, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, yams, cream of mushroom soup, onions, and celery. So the next time you’re thinking about donating to a non-profit or charity, know that it’s being used in an incredible way, and you’re helping more than you think you are.
One of the questions on the application when applying for the Thanksgiving baskets is whether or not you have received income in the last 30 days, and over 75% have. Now we don’t know how much or whether it’s social security, but we do know that they have received some sort of income. This alone shows you that not all people that need help are unemployed or lazy. Actually, the majority are extremely hard-working; they either got backed up in medical bills or had to do household repairs. There are so many things that happen in this world that are out of our control, but being able to give back when others need help is one of the most rewarding feelings.
On the application, we ask 2 more personal questions:
- What are you thankful for this year?
Some of the responses ranged from: education, children, to still be alive, Restore Hope, have a roof over our head, family. We ask this question to remind our clients that even in the tough times, they all still have something to be thankful for.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
- What are you hopeful for next year?
Some responses to this question were: father will return, cure for HIV, family member will stay out of jail, children will become honor students, liver transplant, to be able to help someone else. Sometimes bad things just happen, and it is out of our control, but we can all still be hopeful that there will be good in the future.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
For the first time in my 22 years of life, I will not be spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. And now that I will be away from them, I’ve realized it was something I took for granted. So I advise anyone who is feeling down or having a hard time to remember that we all have something to be thankful for.
Global Mission Fellow US-2, Class of 2016-2018
Restore Hope Ministries, Oklahoma Annual Conference