'Chef who loves people' lends Helping Hands
Charles Morris remembers starting Helping Hands Ministry 10 years ago by combining his donation of $30 with money donated by several friends.
Morris, a nursing assistant at the VA Medical Center, said the friends used the money to buy food which he cooked and distributed to the needy and down and out walking the streets of northeast Oklahoma City.
Morris said the ministry has come a long way in a decade.
A ministry of The Christ Experience, Helping Hands recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a free barbecue meal and clothing giveaway held on Aug. 27 at the church, 1006 NE 17.
The ministry was formed as a way to reach out to the less fortunate in the community, particularly veterans in need of a helping hand and people battling substance abuse addiction. The church, formerly called Christ United Methodist Church, is just a few blocks from the VA Medical Center.
Morris said someone once described Helping Hands as a ministry for the homeless but "the truth is, we'll feed anybody."
"I cook because that's a gift that God gave me," he said. "I'm a chef that loves people and God told me years ago just to be of service."
Morris, a veteran himself, said on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, volunteers gather at the church to offer a free meal and other support, such as clothing and shoes, for needy individuals. He said they often take the food out to street corners and other areas where people in need may congregate.
"The people out on the street are suffering and for whatever reason, they won't come to the church," Morris said.. "So we go to them. That's where the ministry is."
He estimates at least 200 people gathered for the recent anniversary celebration at the church. The event included entertainment by a mime.
Volunteer Prince Douglas said he once was a recipient of the food and other aid offered by the ministry.
He said he's been volunteering for the ministry for about six years as a way to give back and help someone else.
"We're doing more than just handing them a plate," Douglas said. "There's a spirit in it."
For more information about the Helping Hands ministry, call 424-2800.