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Spaghetti, Brooks House lovers turn out for good eats (with video)

By Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 9:25 PM

See a gallery from the event

The Brooks House mission is “to provide a safe, comfortable environment for women and children seeking shelter and connect them with resources to help change their lives.” The support for Brooks House was evident Thursday evening as people packed the fellowship hall at College Hills Church of Christ to enjoy the old-fashioned spaghetti dinner prepared by Pete and Kelly Johnson. The kitchen at Brooks House is named “Pete’s Kitchen” after Johnson, who cooks at the shelter each Tuesday night while his wife leads a Bible study for residents. 

“He is a servant who is not afraid to lead and a leader who is not afraid to serve,” said executive director Liz Reese of Johnson. 

The shelter on Virginia Avenue in Lebanon experienced growth in the spring, which included an expansion that allowed even more residents. Reese said proceeds from the spaghetti dinner would be used for operations at Brooks House. 

“The money will be used for Brooks House operations, because we have to pay the light bill, the water bill, and we have to pay Ms. Liz and Ms. Melanie,” she said. “We still need money for operations, so you can still write us a check. It’s all for the good of Brooks House.”

And Reese reported strong support from the community regarding ticket sales to the event. 

“Ticket sales went great,” Reese said. We had maybe just 100 tickets left among all those turned in. It’s been fantastic.”

Brooks House board president Carol Ann Griffin was equally impressed by the show of support. 

“We appreciate each and every one who has been so gracious to attend our spaghetti supper [Thursday night], and just know that your donation means a lot to Brooks House to continue and expand our efforts,” said Griffin. “We appreciate the love and support each of you have given.”

Before his untimely death, Brooks Franklin, a reporter for The Lebanon Democrat, researched the homeless population in Wilson County and wrote several award-winning articles on the subject. These feature stories made the community aware of the size and plight of the homeless population and especially the need for temporary shelter for women and children in the local area.

It became the mission of a diverse group to create a shelter in Wilson County to help the homeless population. Out of this mission a new nonprofit corporation, Community Homeless Outreach and Support Inc. was formed. Doing business as Brooks House, in honor of Franklin, the group started the shelter.

In March 2007, the board named Reese as the first and since only director of Brooks House. 

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