Summer Increase in Food Needs

Hopefully you saw the “Tulsa Word” front page story Saturday, July 24, reporting that 2,000 people showed up at Iron Gate Friday for 300 emergency food boxes from the Food Bank, such a crowd that we have had to temporarily discontinue this service. Saturday, we had about 1,000 people. [we have posted a link to the story on our facebook page in case you missed it]

Sara Waggoner, director of the Community Food bank, said she is not surprised at the crowd. “We’re seeing a 40 percent increase in the number of families coming in and asking for help,” she said. “Most of them are coming in for the first time.”

Iron Gate is in conversation with First Baptist up the street and we have a meeting next week with the Food Bank. Iron Gate is searching for a solution to the logistical problem and the high demand for food, but it’s tough to solve.

Hopefully you also saw the “Tulsa World” front page story today, July 27, about the worst states in the nation for child well being. Oklahoma is near the bottom—number 44. The article includes two photos of children eating at Iron Gate. The state now has 23 percent of our children living in poverty. “It is tragic beyond words that Oklahoma children are so vulnerable,” said Desiree Doherty, executive director of Tulsa’s Parent Child Center.[we have posted a link to the story on our facebook page in case you missed it]

You may not have seen the front page story in today’s “USA Today” about the national housing crisis (last year evictions were up 127 percent to 191,000) and job losses are the worst since statistics have been kept (8.5 million jobs vanished in 2009.)

What this means to Iron Gate is that we continue to have more demand for food help than ever. We don’t see an end in sight.

Example: Today, two young mothers—sisters—came in for emergency grocery bags (not the boxes from the Food Bank.) Both recently lost their jobs. Both have children and all moved in with their parents, who were already caring for young grand children. Now the family totals 15 living in one house and with no food. The sisters were frightened and embarrassed to ask for help and told us they have never been in this situation before. We cannot solve their housing or employment problems, but we could scratch together food from our pantry for them.