What began as a free hot lunch program in a dignified setting six years ago has blossomed. Neighborhood Hope Dealers, formerly Lunch on Us (LOU’S), still provides lunch with the help of Guthrie Gospel Chapel at 424 E. Oklahoma; however, their mission is growing to include a new location that will eventually serve as full-time transitional housing to individuals and families who are homeless, struggle with addiction, live in abusive situations or other circumstances. Their new location will be in the former North-Care/Eagle Ridge Family Treatment Center building, 1916 E. Perkins in Guthrie.
“When we (Lunch on Lou’s) lost our building in Cottonwood Flats we said, ‘We don’t know why this is happening, but knew God will do what God will do.’ Thirty to 45 days later we are getting ready to sign a lease with NorthCare,” explained OJ Myers who serves on the board of directors for Neighborhood Hope Dealers.
By the end of April Neighborhood Hope Dealers will be in their new location which will be known as HopeHouse Guthrie. The facility is over 17,000 square feet, offers a commercial-sized kitchen and features 22 bedrooms that are equipped with showers. Guests will also have access to two different laundry rooms, offices and commons areas. Founding brothers, Marcus and Michael Wyatt, will begin by serving lunch first and eventually offer shelter for those in need. They will also continue to offer household goods, bedding and clothing at no cost.
“I used to battle with addiction,” said Michael Wyatt. “I lived a different life and God changed my life. It brought me to Mrs. Susan Long at LOU’s. When she passed away we took it over. I see a different part of our society than most of us see—brokenness, addiction, and so forth. We want to give them some place where we can help them clean up spiritually, physically, and mentally. We want to help those that feel hopeless and love them, too. We need to bring hope to our community.”
According to Myers, “We know through various groups and authorities that there are 75 “without shelter” people in this town from seniors to children. That many more at least who are homeless and staying with one friend or another for a day or a week or more at a time and then moving on to the next sofa, garage or floor.”
The biggest thing the community can do to help is through giving financially. It will cost Neighborhood Hope Dealers $3,000 just to get into the building. Currently checks can be written to Neighborhood Hope Dealers and sent to NHD at P.O. Box 491, Guthrie, OK, 73044. One of the easiest ways to do this is by joining their 300 Club. As a member of the 300 Club you commit to donate at least $10 per month every month.
To find out more about Neighborhood Hope Dealers and HopeHouse of Guthrie, visit their website at www.nhd-guthrie.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.