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The Nonprofit Iron Gate, Which Feeds Hundreds of Tulsans Every Day, Hopes to Move to a New Facility

Aired on Tuesday, August 25th.

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.

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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