Luz Lopez cooks delicious meals for homeless Tulsans
Businesswoman spends every second Saturday of the month serving meals with homegrown ingredients at the downtown shelter.
Luz Lopez picks fruit in her backyard. She grows much of the produce she uses to cook for hungry Tulsans.
It is 9:45 p.m., and Luz Lopez is cooking. She and her family are getting ready to feed hungry Tulsans, as they do every second Saturday of the month in front of the downtown homeless shelter.
To ensure the meals are of the best quality and flavor, Lopez cooks with produce grown in her own backyard. She buys other food out of pocket, and some is brought by her friends.
Lopez’ passion for the homeless is fueled by her own experiences. As a little girl living in California, she and her many siblings were raised by a single mother. The family was homeless for a while; Lopez remembers sleeping on a park bench one night.
Lopez says she lied about her age to get hired at McDonald’s, where she started washing dishes at age 13. Once she became an adult, she was promoted to manager. Years went by, and one day McDonald’s Corp. sent her to Oklahoma to supervise various restaurants. Later, she was able to buy three McDonald’s in Tulsa, which she still manages by day.
Lopez is currently fighting breast cancer, but she says, “My cancer treatment is working right now and gives me hope.”
Despite her health struggles, Lopez — whose first name means “light” in Spanish — wants to give back to others who have fallen on hard times. “Life gave me the gift of becoming a businesswoman, so now I feel the urgent need to give back to my community,” she says.