By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
HASKELL, OK -- For the first time since burning to the ground earlier this month, a Muskogee County food pantry is handing out groceries to those in need.
Dozens of Haskell residents turned out Tuesday afternoon for a box full of food and a hot meal.
Brick by brick, Ezra House is making a comeback.
"They help a lot of people. When I ain't working, I come down here and get groceries. And they give me clothes sometimes," said Bob Bird, a Haskell resident.
Ezra House has been serving Haskell for seven years. Their motto is "More than Just Bread."
Teenage volunteer Jeremy Vannoy says it gives his life purpose.
"I just like seeing people with smiles on their faces and food in their bellies," said Jeremy Vannoy, a 17-year-old volunteer.
Firefighters say an electrical problem in a neighboring store started the downtown blaze.
Last week, Triple Cross Cowboy Church spurred into action for a one-of-a-kind fundraiser.
They collected hundreds of cans.
5/17/2009 Related Story: Church Helps Haskell Outreach Center Rebuild
The donations kept pouring in and Ezra House founders rented a mobile unit.
Crystal Hoover lives paycheck to paycheck. She relies on Ezra House's help every few weeks.
"It helps out a lot because we have five kids and it's harder to get groceries for all the kids and to pay the bills," said Crystal Hoover, a Haskell resident.
In less than a month, Ezra House went from rubble to a rented trailer. And for these folks, every can counts.
Ezra House founders say they'll get $70,000 from insurance and several thousand more from selling the bricks.
It's a start, but volunteers say they still need help from the community.
Ezra House Rebuilding Fund:
Citizens Security Bank
202 North Broadway
Haskell, OK 74436