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Showing posts with label homeless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeless. Show all posts

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Labor of Love Charities - Sunday in the Park

I've been telling you about my son Anthony and his non-profit organization, Labor of Love Charities (LOL). It's an organization he started for the homeless in Shawnee, Oklahoma 11 months ago. I am simply amazed at the progress this organization has made in such a short time.

Last weekend was supposed to be LOL's first annual charity dinner, dance and auction fundraiser. My other two children (Joey and Brianna) and I made the 3 hour drive to Shawnee to attend, but unfortunately, it was rescheduled due to some crazy winter weather they were having there. Oklahoma ended up getting 10 inches of snow, ice build up on the roads and thousands of homes and businesses lost their power.

Anyway, the dinner was the only thing that the charity canceled. Every Sunday at 2:00 p.m., Anthony and his volunteers feed the homeless at one of the local parks. This Sunday was no exception. Like the postman, people can count on being fed when Anthony is around no matter what the weather is like.

Sunday's lunch - albeit a simple one of macaroni and cheese, buttered corn, hot dogs and buns, hot cocoa, bottled water and slats of pastries donated by the local Starbucks - served as the meal on this very cold day.

When we arrived at the park, several homeless people were there waiting for us. Meals were served up in big styrofoam containers. There was plenty of food for everyone; those who wanted seconds were able to take extra food with them. I was amazed to find out from our homeless friends that several of the places where they go for food weren't serving meals on that freezing cold day due to the winter weather. Anthony told me that's a common occurrence - many organizations will only serve the homeless when the weather is nice. Anyway, one of the homeless said, "We KNEW you'd be here, Anthony." And because of that, they trudged to the park in ankle deep snow to get what proved to be their only meal for the day.

Labor of Love Facebook Fan Page:


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hot Dogs Lead to Fulfillment of Dream - The Shawnee News-Star

My son, Anthony's organization for the homeless is growing by leaps and bounds. Here's the latest newspaper article on the charity which hits newsstands this morning. Enjoy!

Hot dogs lead to fulfillment of dream - Shawnee, OK - The Shawnee News-Star

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Labor of Love Charities - "Homeless, Not Hopeless"

I'm a firm believer in the fact that when things are meant to happen, they will. Sometimes it will happen so quickly it can make your head spin. For me, it's always meant that this is God's will. A good example of this recently occurred with my son, Anthony. He has always had a love for helping the homeless. Earlier this year, I blogged about the experience we shared in volunteering for "Hot Dogs for the Homeless" in downtown Oklahoma city. This small act of love has exploded into something wonderful which will benefit so many of the less fortunate in the months and years to come.

In a nutshell, Anthony decided to start helping the homeless in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he currently attends college. He makes lunch for the homeless each Sunday and delivers it to them in the streets where they reside and started a non-profit organization called "Labor of Love Charities." He decided to take this a step further by checking out buildings for rent with the intent that he would turn this into a homeless shelter/resource center. One building of interest - a 1901 two-story hotel - was available for rent. Anthony contacted the owner of the hotel and told him of his plans for the building. The owner of the building happens to be a doctor in the area who also has a love for helping others. He decided to DONATE the building to Anthony's charity. In addition, the doctor and his wife (who is a nurse) have graciously offered to provide FREE medical care to the homeless who seek assistance through the Labor of Love Charities. They will be working hand-in-hand with Anthony in making this dream come true.

The doctor, a gentleman named Keith, is also quite the publicity man. He contacted the television show "Extreme Home Makeover" to see if they would possibly be interested in renovating this hotel/future shelter. The television show has since requested a video of the hotel. Please keep your fingers crossed! If the show decides to take on the task of renovating this hotel/shelter, it will mean that more of the charity's resources can be used to assist the homeless. I'll keep you posted!

The Shawnee News-Star wrote an article about Anthony's efforts which they have featured in both their online and print newspaper editions. Please feel free to check it out if you get a chance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hotdogs for the Homeless - A Labor of Love

My middle child, Anthony attends St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Each Sunday afternoon, he heads over to Oklahoma City and does volunteer work for Hotdogs for the Homeless. My daughter, Brianna and I visited Anthony this past weekend and also had the opportunity of volunteering for this very worthwhile cause during our visit.

Hotdogs for the Homeless was started by a man named Rick Swyden 6 years ago. What began as a loving gesture to feed one hungry, homeless man on the street has evolved into Rick and his volunteers providing 300 hotdog lunches to the homeless in Oklahoma City every Sunday. To date, Rick's group has served nearly 85,000 lunches since the program began in 2003.

At 12:00 noon, the volunteers meet inside of a large vacant room in a strip mall. Here, they boil two tamale pots full of hotdogs, place them on buns, wrap them in foil and assemble bagged lunches in white paper bags which have been decorated by local school children. Each lunch consists of a hotdog, snacks, napkins, condiments and bottled water. Extra hotdogs are wrapped for those who would like seconds. By 1:00 p.m., once everything has been prepared and assembled, the lunches are put into large plastic storage boxes and placed into the backs of the volunteers' vehicles. They then drive out to three designated stops within the poor sections of the Oklahoma City streets to hand out the lunches.
The homeless are gathered at each stop. This is not only an opportunity for the homeless to eat a meal, but to talk with others, share stories and human companionship which is so often lacking in this situation. Rick often gives hugs away with the lunches; he has befriended many of these homeless people and has helped at least 30 of them get off of the streets and into homes and jobs.

The spirit of giving is contagious. Many of the volunteers add their own bit of love into the mix. One regular volunteer bakes cookies each weekend and gives them out at the stops. Others bring gently used clothing, new scarves and backpacks to share during this time. Honestly, I'm not sure who enjoyed this time more - the homeless people or the volunteers - but in any case, it is a heartwarming experience for all concerned. In our current economic situation, it's nice to know that even the smallest gestures of kindness can evolve into such an amazing and touching event.

CBS Evening News ran a touching story on Hotdogs for the Homeless in 2007. Please be sure to check it out on the Hotdogs for the Homeless website. Also, if you would like to donate to this worthwhile organization, you can find out the details through their website.
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