Community steps up for homeless initiative

Chad Frey
Butler County Times Gazette

As the polar vortex plunged temperatures and wind chills to well below zero, Joni Davis of El Dorado started feeling what she called "one of God's little nudges." She called her pastor, Mik King of First United Methodist Church, who jumped on board with an effort to support the Butler County Homeless Initiative of El Dorado. 

"I said 'we have to do something for the homeless because it his cold out here," Davis said. "Pastor King got on board with this right away and called me back with the name of the people with the homeless initiative."

That turned into a community effort to provide meals for the 12 people who were at the at the Homeless Initiative —  a homeless shelter operating out of the First Church of

the Nazarene, 202 N. Taylor, El Dorado. Davis turned to her Sunday school class and called restaurants in El Dorado.

"I figured all they could do is say no, so I just started calling," Davis said. 

She scheduled the meals when they started saying yes. Members of her Sunday School class who volunteered to head to the kitchen included  Nancy and David Wagner, Jean Meyer, Ava Wedel and Cheryl Anderson.  LeShara Fisher signed on to volunteer for the shelter.

Restaurants said yes as well — Pizza Hut donated food for two mealtimes and offered to fill any slot left open on the calendar. They didn't have to fill any extra spots, as Taco Bell, Two Brothers Barbecue, Hog Wild, Sonic, Gambinos and Spangles all donated meals. 

"That just shows how caring a community El Dorado is," Davis said. "They step up when times are bad and help people they do not even know. ... I wasn't really suprised, but I was very pleased. I was very proud of our community." 

Volunteers provided two hot meals each day, starting on Saturday and filling the schedule through Thursday. 

Davis will keep an eye on the weather, and if the brutally cold temps continued will get back on her phone again. 

"I believe in God's nudges. I thought it was the right thing to do for people who are less fortuate than I am. I think I did what anyone would have done," Davis said. "I don't want to put the focus on me, as much as I want to put the focus on the people of El Dorado and the people of my church."