After 40 years operating from the basement of Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Tulsa, the Iron Gate soup kitchen and food pantry will soon have its own new location and dedicated facilities.
With groundbreaking set for Aug. 2, the 18,000-square-foot facility will include a kitchen, dining hall, food pantry, administrative offices and a courtyard.
The journey to the new facility was not without several obstacles and legal challenges. However, the new location at 501 W. Archer St., just west of the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, is ideal for the nonprofit’s mission.
"The new location will provide some exciting synergies," says Carrie Vesely Henderson, Iron Gate’s executive director. "Being next to the Tulsa Day Center and with the Family Center for Juvenile Justice scheduled to be constructed close by, we will be in a great location to serve our clients and help even more people."
In 2017, Iron Gate served nearly 210,000 meals, provided some 48,000 bags of groceries through its grocery pantry and distributed approximately 15,000 packs of healthy snacks to youth.
The building will allow the nonprofit to expand its grocery outreach. "We’ll have a dedicated food pantry in the new space so our clients can enjoy a true grocery-style shopping experience," Vesely Henderson says.
The cost of the new facility, approximately $4 million, was funded through private donations, and Iron Gate entered into a 99-year lease for the building.
"We are Tulsa’s social safety net for people," Vesely Henderson says. "We are the entry point for people who are hungry and need assistance. We treat everyone as our guests, with courtesy and respect. They can get a meal and get refocused with no questions asked."