Twin brothers Marcus and Michael Wyatt celebrated their birthday on Wednesday and served the last meals on Friday until LOU’s relocates.
Lunch on Us, more commonly known as LOU’s, has been open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and fed a minimum of 50 to 100 people a day, but it is about much more than lunch. LOU’s has provided other amenities such as sack lunches to take home, hot showers and hygiene products, a clothing closet, household products and addiction recovery groups, which speaks to the overall mission: serving members of the community who need it the most.
“We want people to understand that this is temporary and we’re looking for a new place,” Tammie Hulsey, a full-time volunteer at LOU’s, said.
LOU’s has made community outreach one of their main goals and their work extends past the walls where they serve so many. This past Christmas, they helped the people at Eagle Ridge by providing Christmas cheer and presents. Faver High School started a kitchen for the students and they were involved in and donated to that cause. Currently, they are in the process of gathering up nicer interview quality clothes for people leaving Job Corps that are heading back out into the workforce.
Hulsey said these efforts won’t stop but until a new location is secured the lunches will. LOU’s feeds a varied demographic, including the school kids at God’s House Ministries, and Hulsey said this is a common misconception about LOU’s.
“The people that come to lunch, and it’s part of the miscommunication, they think we only focus on the homeless and that is not the case,” Hulsey said. “Anybody can come have lunch. We have people that are homeless, obviously, and that may be their only meal for the day. We have people that are struggling with cancer right now and just trying to survive. We have some people who are maybe just a little down on their luck and have money to pay the bills but funds are tight for extra food. Some people just want to come down and fellowship. I mean, it’s just like a big family. It varies day to day who is there but for the most part, it’s the same people and the fellowship is huge.”
While there are food banks and resources such as Lunch on Noble, Hulsey said that LOU’s is the only place in town that also has a clothing closet, recovery groups, Bible study and possibly the most important factor—showers.
“I mean, being clean does a lot for your self-esteem. Having a place to go take a warm shower, put on some clean clothes; it makes a difference in your day. Plus, if you’ve got people that are struggling with homelessness, they need access to showers and clean clothes in order to successfully be able to get back into the workforce. It benefits in so many ways.”
LOU’s had people showing up as soon as they opened at 9:30 a.m. to have a cup of coffee, a donut and just to visit while playing a game of chess just because they enjoyed, and needed, the camaraderie with people.
Speaking of camaraderie, with the help of Vision Farms, LOU’s started a community garden this Fall; growing potatoes and green beans, which provided not only food but also group participation.
“I’ve got raised beds built so we were really getting into that this Spring,” Hulsey said. “Not only can we cook with that but we were hoping that those who come down that are able to, would participate in helping. It gives [especially those in recovery] a sense of worth, self-esteem, something to give back and something to focus on. So, that was my hopes with that.”
For a lot of people here in Guthrie, LOU’s provides a warm and safe place for them to go. Everything must be packed up and moved from the current location by Jan. 26 and this is an excellent opportunity for those interested in getting involved. Hulsey said something they’re currently in need of is boxes to pack everything up and anyone who would like to lend a hand is more than welcome to reach out.
“Whether we go to storage with it for now or a new location, we’re definitely going to need help from the community with that.”
For people interested in getting involved with LOU’s in any capacity whether that be through a donation or time, please contact Tammie Hulsey at 405-639-9577 or Michael Wyatt at 405-697-9601.