A downtown mission held a block party for homeless after 'roughest summer'

Posted at 9:56 PM, Sep 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 08:35:30-04

TULSA -- The John 3:16 Mission held a block party in downtown Tulsa for homeless people and at risk youth Saturday afternoon.

The block party included bounce houses, popcorn and snow cones, a dunk tank, raffles and more. 

Leadership wanted to put a smile on the face of people who do not typically have a reason to smile.

The idea was to give the homeless people the chance to experience something similar to the fair that is coming to town next week without the financial burden. 

Reverend Steve Witaker, President of John 3:16, said it has been a rough summer for homeless people in Tulsa.

Just feet away from where the party was held is where three homeless people were mowed over by a car several weeks ago. One was killed.

Whitaker also brought up the rapes of homeless people this summer. 

"Its been the roughest summer on record in the number of violent acts against the homeless," Whitaker said. "There's a lot of anxiety amongst people who are experiencing homeless right now." 

His hope was the block party would give the homeless a sense of comfort and alleviate the fear.

Whitaker said the homeless people's spirit today was largely different from what he has seen in the recent past after he said they were targeted numerous times. 

"It is hard to quantify or qualify what's going on except there has been a loss of innocence among the homeless," Whitaker said. 

Tyrone Thomas used to be homeless but through the help of John 3:16, he has turned his life around. 

He attended the block party today. Thomas is helping other who are in the same situation he was in a year ago and restoring their confidence. 

"To have something like this, it would have brought one word to mind and that would be 'hope,'" Thomas said. "When you have hope, there is something different about life." 

Thomas said the event shows people there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

"You are loved," Thomas said. "People do care about you and there is hope and John 3:16 is always here and they will never shut you out." 

John 3:16 also had people connecting the homeless with resources to help them get back on their feet.


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