By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
HASKELL, OK -- A Muskogee County outreach center is getting a helping hand.
The Ezra House in Haskell burned to the ground two weeks ago. Firefighters blame an electrical problem in a nearby store.
An area church is trying to jumpstart the rebuilding process.
Helping the less fortunate is as old as the bible. Now one church is living that lesson from the Good Book, through the Wild West.
"That's one of the resources we have, as a cowboy church," said Gary Pendergrass with Triple Cross Cowboy Church. "We're into the horse and wagon stuff."
A blaze ravaged three buildings in downtown Haskell, including the Ezra House.
"We've been there for eight years, working 60 hours a week," said Doyle Reed, Ezra House co-founder.
It's an outreach program started by Doyle and Lois Reed. They fed more than 100 people every month.
"That's what we were there for, not to judge them, but to reach out and love and care for them," Doyle Reed said.
The building is gone, and so is the chance for the poor to stop by for a hot meal.
"I was standing at the back door, and I had an experience, I went through that door thousands of times, carrying groceries, carrying clothing, expecting to see Ezra House family," Lois Reed said. "And I reached for the door, but it was just jammed, because on the other side of it was just rubble. And it just hit me, there's nothing on the other side of this door."
The Triple Cross Cowboy Church in Beggs decided to step up. Members organized a food drive, one that played to their strengths.
"It gets people attention to where they might give more, when they see the horse and wagon coming down," Pendergrass said.
Door to door they went, by two legs and four. Homeowners gawked, and then gave.
But the church isn't putting the cart before the horse. The Reeds want to rebuild, but they need help.
Their loss has touched a nerve in this small community, and now they're spurring into action.
Lois Reed says insurance will pay about $80,000, but they're going to need another $80,000 if they plan to rebuild in downtown Haskell.
Donations can be made to the Ezra House Rebuilding Fund at the Citizens Security Bank and Trust, PO Box 128, Haskell, Oklahoma 74436. For more information, call (918) 482-5261.