It is tempting for a hunger relief agency like Iron Gate to focus on numbers—how many guests we fed, how many tons of food we received and how much it cost. However, our guests are more than numbers, they are people we come to know and care about. Often we learn about their lives, their setbacks, their successes and their dreams.
Hunger is what you feel when you don’t have enough to eat. Iron Gate served 233,793 meals in 2016. Food insecurity is the set of circumstances that prevent your access to food. Iron Gate distributed 14,524 pantry bags.
Hunger and food insecurity don’t discriminate: they affect people of all ages, races, and genders in every community in Tulsa County. They happen everywhere and could be affecting someone in your neighborhood today. There is no one face of hunger and food insecurity. The need varies among children, older adults, people with disabilities, veterans, the working poor, and others.
Some come to Iron Gate regularly, others we may meet only once. All are welcome. In the Faces of Iron Gate, you will meet some of the guests who ate with us this year.
“I just want people to know I’m out here trying to make a difference in any way I can but also get my feet on the ground. I’d love to learn how to fly an airplane one day. I’m going to be flying soon.”
“I go day to day thinking about bettering myself. You know, how I can be better than I was yesterday, not make the same mistakes and set new goals every day.”
“My friends have always said, ‘Man, I wish I had a mom like yours.’” – Delena
“I work on cars for a living. My best memory is proposing to my wife. We were outside of the Greyhound bus station and I got down on one knee. All the cab drivers clapped when she said yes.”
“I do my own thing—walking to work with my earphones in, dancing the whole way. My style of dance is about flexibility and incorporates ballet. I danced for the first time when I was 16. I was home alone when Green Day came one and it was over from there.”
“I have been coming to Iron Gate since 2009 but I’m from Chicago. I like to sew and sing—especially Whitney Houston. I think we all have to come together to figure out what’s missing in our community. Change has to start somewhere.”
My favorite thing about Iron Gate is that it gives you a place to socialize. I like making people happy. I always think about what I can do to make people’s day. I love acting, singing, dancing and telling jokes.”
“I’m a tough girl. I’m always energetic and I’m always complicated. My first date with my husband was at the Blue Rose. He started dancing like Beetlejuice and Forrest Gump! I was embarrassed to dance at first.”