The Nonprofit Iron Gate, Which Feeds Hundreds of Tulsans Every Day, Hopes to Move to a New Facility
Iron Gate, a nonprofit soup kitchen and food pantry at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Tulsa, began operations nearly forty years ago. It's still based at Trinity, but it's a separate facility -- make that a separate and vitally important facility -- that has drastically outgrown its workspace. Iron Gate, actually located in the crowded basement of Trinity, has an on-site dining area meant to seat 127 people, yet the facility serves food to 500 or 600 hungry Tulsans every day of the year. Indeed, as noted in a recent Tulsa World editorial: "It's time -- in fact it's past time for Iron Gate to grow its mission. It is a miracle of efficiency and dedication that Iron Gate has been able to make do in cramped quarters for so long. It provided 220,179 meals and 32,116 bags of groceries last year. It did so in the face of critics who claimed the soup kitchen brought too many homeless poor people to the heart of downtown. But here are the facts: three-fourths of Iron Gate clients have transportation and shelter but cannot make ends meet. With space constraints, many of Iron Gate's clients are forced into a parking lot to wait for food." Iron Gate now plans to construct and then relocate to a new facility at 3rd and Peoria, as we learn on today's show. If all goes well, this move will happen about a year from now. Our guests are Connie Cronley, the executive director of Iron Gate -- who's also, of course, one of our show's longtime commentators -- and Shane Saunders, an Iron Gate board member who also co-chairs the capital campaign that will make this move financially possible.