By Rev. Jeff Jaynes
(Article originally appeared in Asbury’s Tidings Magazine)
She wasn’t the first in line but she was close. Patiently waiting in the lobby, she talked quietly with her son in the umbrella stroller at her feet. Any other day, someone coming to Asbury might guess she was one of the many young mothers dropping off children at preschool. Except it was not just any other day and she was not near the children’s area. It was the first day Restore Hope–South Tulsa was open in the Venue building, and she was there for some help.
This young mother was a perfect example of the people Restore Hope Ministries has helped for 38 years now. Restore Hope’s mission is to help families in financial crisis move to economic and spiritual vitality. Most often, the crises we see are like the one the young mother on that first day shared with our volunteer caseworker. Her husband works, she said, but his work is dependent on good weather. When the weather is good they are able to make it. Unfortunately, the weather in OK is not always so ideal. She would love to work herself but her son is just three years old–too young for school–and they cannot afford child care. Her husband’s average income (thanks to those good days) is too high for any child care subsidies. She didn’t need much. But she did need food to feed her family.
After only two days of serving, Restore Hope’s Asbury location has helped 35 families just like this young woman. To a person, these families have been patient as we have all learned how to live into our new space. To a person they have been exceedingly grateful for the help. I loved being there on the very first day to hear these families say thank you as they left. Many took special care to let me know how grateful they were. Most of them never thought they’d need to ask for help from a food pantry. All of them were glad we were there.
We are very glad to be there too. Years ago, when we were rebuilding our warehouse, we contemplated what our needs would be for our building on Charles Page Boulevard. We discussed options that might lead to expansion on that site at a later date. I was never comfortable with those ideas. Growing at that location did not seem to me to be the future we needed to pursue. A few years later, when our Board and staff entered into a time of strategic planning, we discussed those options again. This time, I was not the only one who was thinking beyond our current campus. In fact, the Board unanimously approved exploring satellite facilities–especially in local churches.
At the same time at Asbury, the Pastors and the Local Outreach team were getting to know the neighborhood around 6767 S. Mingo. And they did not have to look very far to see the needs. The Union School District was already deep into its own transition from a suburban wealthy district to ever growing poverty. With more than 60% of its students eligible for free or reduced lunches, Union began to explore how best to help their families–including the hiring of full-time staff members for the homeless children in their schools. Grove Elementary, just to the north of Asbury’s campus, was already deep into this transition–with nearly 90% of its students in poverty–becoming a “community school” to add wraparound care for their families. Many of those families live in the apartments to Asbury’s north, many of them riding the Tulsa Transit bus that loops through Asbury’s parking lot several times a day.
Asbury has a rich history of looking beyond its walls–often beyond national borders as well. Many Asburians (including me growing up) went across the globe on mission–to places like Estonia, Tanzania, Azerbaijan and more. Just take a walk around the building and you can see the impact those global missions have made. In fact, you can still see one of the frisbees our mission group took to Estonia in 1999–a trip that certainly changed my life as that’s when I met my wife! Asbury’s work has changed many lives around the world. And now Asbury was looking not just across oceans, but also across the street.
Meanwhile, Restore Hope was also looking at how (and, more importantly, who) we were serving. We even did a “heat map” of those who came to us for help over an entire year. Areas where more of our clients lived had big circles representing many families. Some places barely showed as a dot on the map. The North and West portions of Tulsa were covered in circles. South and East Tulsa had more of the little dots. It was clear where we needed to expand.
On this side of that decision–on this side of the amazing grand opening with balloons and fanfare–it is clear that we made the right choice. New volunteers who could not easily travel to our main campus are serving their neighbors in need. Space that once collected odds and ends now contains green beans, cereal, peanut butter and pineapple. Families that previously did not have time to make the hours-long bus ride to Charles Page Boulevard, can come down the block to get the food the need.
But we are not just sharing food at Restore Hope South Tulsa. We are sharing hope. The young mother who came in with her son did not just leave with some cans to put in her pantry. She left with the idea that tomorrow might be a better day. The young father who needed prayer had time to meet with a prayer worker–while his daughter rested in the arms of a volunteer who showed off his grandpa skills as well as helping with food. Those we serve are not “the poor.” They are the neighbors we are called to love, our brothers and sisters in Christ’s family who just need a little hand up…and a little hope. Thank you for your help in sharing that hope. I look forward to watching how our partnership will bless our neighbors and so many more!
Restore Hope is proud that Charity Navigator, a major independent charity evaluator, has once again given our agency it’s highest rating: 4 stars. We are one of 6 agencies in Tulsa and one of only 13 in the state to achieve such a ranking. It is a team effort but we are so glad that you can donate to us with confidence that your gift will be used wisely and for the purposes intended. Below is the letter from Ken Berger, President and CEO of Charity Navigator (emphasis is ours):
(click for a PDF version: Charity Navigator 4 star letter 2013)
“On behalf of Charity Navigator, I wish to congratulate Restore Hope Ministries on achieving our coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.
As the nonprofit sector continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, savvy donors are demanding more accountability, transparency and quantifiable results from the charities they choose to support with their hard-earned dollars. In this competitive philanthropic marketplace, Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator, highlights the fine work of efficient, ethical and open charities. Our goal in all of this is to provide donors with essential information needed to give them greater confidence in the charitable choices they make.
Based on the most recent information available, we have issued a new rating for your organization. We are proud to announce Restore Hope Ministries has earned our second consecutive 4-star rating. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that your organization adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. Only 18% of the charities we rate have received at least 2 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Restore Hope Ministries outperforms most other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Restore Hope Ministries from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.
Forbes, Business Week, and Kiplinger’s Financial Magazine, among others, have profiled and celebrated our unique method of applying data-driven analysis to the charitable sector. We evaluate ten times more charities than our nearest competitor and currently attract more visitors to our website than all other charity rating groups combined, thus making us the leading charity evaluator in America. Our data shows that users of our site gave more than they planned to before viewing our findings, and in fact, it is estimated that last year Charity Navigator influenced approximately $10 billion in charitable gifts.
We believe our service will enhance your organization’s fundraising and public relations efforts. Our favorable review of Restore Hope Ministries’ fiscal health and commitment to accountability & transparency will be visible on our website as of October 1st.
We wish you continued success in your charitable endeavors.
President & Chief Executive Officer”
By JOSEPH HARRIS, Director of Communications, Oklahoma Conference of UMC
In Tulsa, Restore Hope Ministries celebrated the opening of its new storage facility with a service of dedication and tours on April 20.
Director Jeff Jaynes spoke about “the miracle of the extension cord” that led to the building expansion for this United Methodist-related aid agency.
A winter storm struck in February 2011, on a Sunday that Tulsa-Asbury United Methodist Church was scheduled to collect food and deliver it to Restore Hope. But due to weather warnings, the church cancelled all programming that day, to discourage people from leaving their homes.
At Restore Hope, more than 10 feet of snow accumulated on the existing warehouse’s flat roof. It collapsed under the weight.
Asbury truly had made a Spirit-led decision, Rev. Jaynes said. Any volunteers unloading food could have been hit when the roof crumpled.
Restore Hope staff discovered the cave-in on the next day. They were surprised to find a heavy steel support beam had buckled but not fallen. Deeper in the damage, they were astonished. An extension cord was holding up that beam, preventing it from crashing down upon the agency’s only delivery van.
That slim cord saved potentially thousands of more dollars in repair costs — and helped launch “Raise the Roof,” a fundraising campaign to acquire new equipment and a new warehouse, Jaynes explained.
The campaign’s goal is $215,000. At the time of the dedication, $212,000 had been raised. Jaynes said the extension-cord “miracle” will be fulfilled soon.
Led by Bishop Robert Hayes Jr., a group officially cut the ribbon to open the Larry Johnson Warehouse, so named in honor of Restore Hope’s former, longtime director.
Rev. Johnson reflected that the ministry has come a long way since the days he began his service there. Not only has its location changed (formerly downtown), but also its name (formerly Tulsa District Cooperative Ministries).
Johnson also pointed out that its impact has grown, too.
Last year Restore Hope served more than 6,000 families and provided school supplies to 2,500 children. The agency assisted 440 families at risk of homelessness. Restore Hope has been credited with a 98 percent success rate in preventing homelessness; 70 percent is the national average.
Jaynes affirmed the unwavering commitment of volunteers and supportive churches. Needs continue to increase, he said, but workers such as retired minister Leon Harrell and Norman Haws represent the “fierce” belief of United Methodists in the importance and effectiveness of this ministry.
Across 18 years, Rev. Harrell has both worked on staff and volunteered. An idea shared by Haws, a 30-year volunteer, led to the agency’s annual Lenten Fast-A-Meal fundraising effort.
Bishop Hayes remarked, “You help recover sight for the blind and set the oppressed free. The ministry of Restore Hope is the mission of Jesus Christ.”
By: [Tulsa] World’s Editorial Writers
Hats off to the Tulsa Community Foundation and so many other organizations that are pitching in to provide supplies to students and teachers before the start of school later this month. Too bad the Legislature wasn’t similarly generous with funding of public education last session. Maybe if it had been, many teachers throughout the state wouldn’t be struggling to meet the needs of the 30-plus students in their classrooms.
The supplies, of course, cannot compensate for crowded classrooms and the thinning of the teacher ranks, but materials will help students have the basic supplies they need to start the learning process.
Thanks to the foundation’s generosity over the past 17 years, more than 260,000 students have benefited from the supplies program.
According to a story this week by Sara Plummer, one of the Tulsa World’s education reporters, the foundation operates PASS, Partnership for the Availability of School Supplies, which provides free school supplies for every student at 52 elementary schools in Tulsa Public and Union school districts. Elementary schools where at least 75 percent of the students qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program receive PASS supplies.
A number of other area groups are pitching in with supplies, including Restore Hope Ministries, which lives up to its name through its collection and distribution of school supplies. Last year about 2,600 people received free school supplies during a two-day Restore Hope event.
The community’s generosity in helping students and teachers get a good start by being adequately equipped cannot make up for the inexcusable parsimony of the Legislature and the lip service state Superintendent of Instruction Janet Barresi gives to schools. But at least this community support shows yet again that some people and some institutions have their priorities straight.
Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/article.aspx?subjectid=61&articleid=20120802_61_A18_Hatsof149150&r=4082
TULSA – There are places you can drop off your recyclables in the meantime.
Sherry got in touch to ask, “What am I supposed to do with my recyclables until the city starts collecting again? I don’t have room to store a lot of bottles and cans.”
The city encourages people to take recyclables to Metropolitan Environmental Trust, or M.E.T., recycle locations.
Click here to find the M.E.T. recycling center nearest you. The Tulsa M.E.T. is extending their hours of operation to 7:30 p.m. to accommodate the additional need for recycle dropoff.
You can find recycle containers in some city parks as well.
The $2-per-month recycling fee went away July 2.
Some Tulsans will get the new recycle containers by mid-July and can start curbside recycling right away.
The new cart rollout will be done by the end of September.
Click here to view the map that tells you which day of the week your trash will be collected from July 1 through the end of September.
In addition there are more than 100 Mr. Murph locations around Tulsa where you can leave recyclables.
American Waste Control offers this information:
AMERICAN WASTE HELPS TULSA RECYCLE WITH 100 PLUS DROP OFF LOCATIONS
Gives Proceeds from TTCU Locations to Benefit Needy School Kids
TULSA, OKLA. – July 6, 2012 — American Waste Control, the leading waste and recycling company in Tulsa, is encouraging Tulsans to take their recyclables to its 100 FREE drop off locations, open 24 hours, all around the metro area during the city’s three month interim period for its trash services.
Tulsa moved to a three-month interim trash service last Monday due to a gap created when the former trash hauler’s contract ended June 30 th. Because of that, the city suspended its current curbside-recycling program until services resume in the fall with American Waste Control processing those recyclables at that time too.
“We encourage all of Tulsa to bring their recyclables to our Mr. Murph drop off sites during this interim period,” says Tom Hill, CEO of Tulsa Recycle and Transfer, American Environmental Landfill and American Waste Control. “We especially ask people to bring their items to any of our TTCU The Credit Union locations where we’re donating proceeds to Restore Hope Ministries to purchase school supplies for school kids.”
American Waste Control, which owns Tulsa Recycle and Transfer, currently holds the distinction of having Oklahoma’s only licensed hybrid Material Recovery Facility (Mr. Murph) onsite where the company is able to process and reclaim over 80 tons of recyclables per day from the city’s waste stream. AWC won the bid for city wide recycling hauling last January over several companies vying for the same 10 year contract.
“Our Mr. Murph is a huge innovation for Tulsa for tackling our growing waste demands,” says Hill. “We literally have the most convenient recycling drop off locations in the city and encourage all of Tulsa to join us in making a true difference for Tulsa by feeding Mr. Murph.”
American Waste officially launched Mr. Murph in March 2011 with the expectation of increasing Tulsa’s recycling rates and reducing area landfills. Today, the facility is enabling Tulsa to recycle more products than ever before, including styrofoam, plastics, aluminum, cardboard, and paper, due to Mr. Murph’s advanced recycling automation.
American Waste Control and TRT now have over 100 Mr. Murph drop off sites throughout Tulsa. Visit feedmrmurph.com for a list of these locations along with a map for directions.
TULSA – Asbury United Methodist Church teamed up with Restore Hope Ministries to help Oklahoma families in need with their 5th Annual “Super Care Sunday” food drive.
Last year, the food drive provided enough food to feed families for four and a half months.
“It’s awesome,” Restore Hope Warehouse Manager Albert Kahl said. “Everybody getting involved just gives us a little more energy and helps us along to do what we do. So, it’s awesome.”
Asbury is still accepting monetary donations for Restore Hope Ministries.
BY MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Monday, February 07, 2011
2/7/2011 12:25:30 PM
The weight of snow caused part of the roof over the Restore Hope Ministry’s food warehouse to collapse Monday morning.
The 14-foot by 80-foot building houses about 30,000 pounds of food and Rev. Larry Johnson, the ministry’s executive director, isn’t sure how much of the of the food will be lost.
He added that it doesn’t look like the walk-in freezer units are damaged but that five or six pallets are covered with about eight feet of snow. He’s waiting on a contractor to check the part of the roof that didn’t collapse before he can go inside and fully assess the damage.
The ministry hopes to resume its food basket distribution tomorrow.
“Not being able to help families last week was bad. We cleared the parking lot and got staff and was ready to get this morning but this put the kibosh on that,” Johnson said.
Posted: Aug 03, 2010 1:33 PM CDTUpdated: Aug 03, 2010 2:32 PM CDT
Crayons and glue can really add up. It can cost nearly 35-dollars just to get a started on the first day, but parents if you need help, all you have to do is ask.
Stephanie Shahan is a grandmother, raising four grandchildren.
“Its hard, different from when I raised mine,” she said.
So she’s come here to Restore Hope, for a bit of relief.
“It will save a lot because if I don’t’ have to buy school supplies. I will have more money to buy clothing shoes and their accessories,” said Shahan
Volunteers are packing up hundreds of boxes and giving them away, each day. Each box is full of basic supplies. parents may not be able to afford, during summer.
“So you’ve got increased grocery cost, increased utility bills and then you’re hit with kids going back to school and it’s quite a financial burden to do that,” said Sandra Milner, of Restore Hope.
Workers don’t want students burdened, going without.
“If you don’t have the new box of crayons or all the tools the teacher wants you to have then you are not going to be interested in the classroom or learning or anything like that,” said Milner.
Individuals and corporations have donated money and materials. They plan to giveaway 2500 boxes.
Stephanie’s arms are full, but now she doesn’t have to worry about school supplies anymore.
Restore Hope Ministries, 2960 Charles Page Blvd.
Weekdays until Aug. 12; 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Supplies, etc. Tulsa Technology Center, Broken Arrow Neighbors
Saturday, 9 a.m. to Noon
Backpacks and Supplies, immunizations
Southwood Baptist Church
Sunday 9 a.m. to noon.
Backpacks, supplies, clothes
Saturday, August 14, 10 a.m. to 4pm
Supplies and Clothing
First Presbyterian Church, Sand Springs
August 16 – 18th
BY MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
11/25/2009 12:19:43 PM
A record number of people registered for Thanksgiving baskets this year at Restore Hope Ministries, resulting in a traffic jam along Charles Page Boulevard Wednesday morning when they arrived to pick up their turkeys.
More than 800 families signed up for baskets this year compared to 550 last year.
“About 60 percent have never been here before. They’re families that are newly low income that either one or both of the people have lost jobs and are trying to make ends meet on unemployment,” said Rev. Larry Johnson, executive director.
The majority of the families showed up about 7 a.m., hours before the scheduled 9:30 start time.
“We had a traffic jam. These families aren’t used to doing this. They weren’t sure we could follow through,” Johnson said.
The line for baskets was four blocks long outside the ministry, 2960 Charles Page Blvd. “We usually don’t have that problem. Most families come out between 9:30 to noon. That didn’t happen today,” Johnson said.
“I haven’t seen the need like this since the late 80s. The economy was bad then, but it seems worse now. Maybe it’s the kind of families that have been impacted, more white collar that never thought they’d be in the position they are in now. Maybe that’s why feelings are a little heavier.”
Overall demand at the ministry is up 30 percent this fall.
Johnson said they had to stop registration for the Thanksgiving baskets halfway through the three-week registration period because demand was so high.
Restore Hope began its Thanksgiving basket program more than 20 years ago when it was located across the street from the Salvation Army.
“They came over and asked if we could help with baskets so they could focus on Christmas,” Johnson said. “It was on a lot smaller scale then.”
Johnson said about 300 families were assisted in the first year. Each basket contained a turkey and 19 other items.
“We try to give them enough for the whole weekend,” Johnson said.