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Claremore nonprofit provides food to government employees during shutdown

Posted: 3:47 PM, Jan 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-08 18:20:26-05

CLAREMORE, Okla. — The government shutdown is beginning to affect more families in the area as time goes on, leaving many without necessities like food and hygiene products.

A Claremore nonprofit, Light of Hope, has decided despite the shutdown, those working for no pay won't go home empty-handed.

On Tuesday, some government employees lined up outside the nonprofit’s building ready to take home a box full of groceries. Many workers paychecks are stalled during the shutdown, leaving them without a means to feed their families.

“This place has been amazing for me,” volunteer Hollie said. “I’ve been through some struggles.”

Light of Hope is living up to its name. It focuses on outreach ministry for addiction and other life difficulties.

“These are people that have to work,” EO and Founder of Light of Hope Layla Freeman said. “There are hospitals. There are air traffic controllers. These people are working for the government that have to be there because lives depend on it.”

Particularly hard hit is the Claremore Indian Hospital, where employees have now gone into their third week without pay.

“The OB department, the dental department, operating room, emergency room, housekeeping,” executive director Nancy Phelps said.

“It is difficult to watch them struggle,” Freeman said.

The nonprofit felt the call to provide for families impacted by the shutdown.

“Just over the last couple of days we’ve had such personal stories come in of just real people, these are our neighbors,” Phelps said.

Volunteers stocked the food pantry thanks to the help of community donations and began providing nearly 100 people with the items they need to survive.

“It’s amazing,” volunteer April Lamb said. “It’s really amazing. It’s God’s work.”

Phelps adds it is tough to go to work every day and not be paid, but those who are seeking help are going to work regardless.

As the nation awaits the decision to reopen the government, Light of Hope is ready to feed families in any circumstance.

“We expect more,” Freeman said. “We’ve already had calls today for more families coming.”

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