Local charity receives, hands out more than 12K pounds of food in midst of power outages

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Days after Monday's storms, thousands were still without power.

Without power, many folks lost refrigerated food items.

However, a local charity has received thousands of pounds of food to help others and it went fast because they've had far more people than usual seeking help.

But it wasn't just food provided, some perceptions were changed, too.

"A lot of times people are set back when they see me for the first time and they realize that I'm Muslim," said DeBorah Boneta.

She has dedicated her life to helping others but it's not just food she provides at the Mercy Mission building through the Surayya Anne Foundation.
It's sometimes also a different outlook.

"He pulled me aside and said, 'I didn't think much of Muslims and I never thought it would be a Muslim that would help me with rent or with my food," she recalled.

This week, when strong storms struck, it was another reminder that we're all human.

"We've noticed an increase in the phone calls like five-fold," Boneta said.

Those calls came from Oklahomans in need of help after Monday's storms knocked out power for thousands causing frozen foods to spoil.

"We served a couple yesterday that had lost everything," she said.

When a local Target store heard about the need, they stepped up to help.

After losing power Monday night, employees had to pull 12,000 pounds of frozen foods off store shelves. But instead of throwing it away, Target donated it.

"It was still frozen, it was still cold and everything, but they knew it was going to be a while for the power to come on," Boneta said.

The morning after the storm, Boneta says they had a line wrapped around the building.

They normally only serve from noon to 2 p.m., but on Tuesday, it was 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Boneta says things like a power outage are sometimes all it takes to land you in a financial crisis.

"Without this place right here, sometimes I wouldn't be able to eat," said Diane Harris who received food.

Target and Trader Joes also helped the foundation.

As primary contributors, they donate fresh fruit, veggies, chickens and occasionally steaks.

"We consider this our family and we try to step in and help where family is needed," Boneta said.

They serve Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

It's first-come, first-serve and on an honor system, but they ask families only come once every two weeks and to bring your own bags or baskets.

For more information, visit Surayya Anne OKC's Facebook page.

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