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Mission Statement Harvest House was established to serve the poor and needy in the Tulsa community by attempting to meet some of their most pressing physical, social and spiritual needs in a manner that preserves their dignity and affirms their self-worth. No single agency can meet all the complex needs of the poor and disenfranchised in the Tulsa community, but we can provide food, clothing, limited financial assistance, further assistance, and referrals to the other agencies that can help them in the full spectrum of care available within the Tulsa community. One distinctive of Harvest House is our consistent emphasis on serving the needs of our clients in a manner allowing them to maintain their dignity and conveying a sense of value and worth to the individuals we are serving.


5. The Need 9. Tulsa’s Poor 14. Meeting the Need 18. Budget 2

The Need Poverty Hunger is a basic human need. Those unable to meet this need on their own suffer more than sharp pain in their stomach. They suffer a stripping of dignity. One can only take so much of this humiliation before they conclude that failure is their only option. This poverty mind-set affects many of the 60,000 people fed weekly by programs sponsored by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Additionally, the devastated economy in the United States resulted in a massive loss of employment causing many Tulsans to seek food donations for the first time.

Agriculture ranks Oklahoma as the fourth hungriest state in the nation, the state also ranks as the sixth most obese. Many experts believe the state-wide epidemic of obesity is a direct result of mass hunger. While many of these same poor cannot afford health insurance, diseases go untreated. It is true that public schooling is available for all children in the United States, however, the quality of the academic institutions vary greatly depending on its location. For those living in poorer neighborhoods, the schools receive less funding and less experienced teachers. Parents fail to support their children’s education by not helping with homework and by not working with teachers to assure their child is learning properly. As a result, multiple children’s education falls by the way side, causing a great percentage to lose interest by the time they reach high school. Some drop out, but most graduate without the hope of attending college.

More than 60,000 people are fed weekly by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

Results of Poverty While hunger is the most obvious symptom of poverty, there are many others including crime, disease, and poor education. The residents of South Peoria discount housing exhibit all three. More crimes take place in areas of cheap, apartment housing, including South Peoria. This shatters the faith of community members as many are insecure about their safety, even in their own homes. A lack of health care and education about health causes many to poor health. Poverty-stricken residents in this area tend to lead unhealthy lifestyles, exhibiting promiscuity, drug-abuse, and poor food-choices leading to obesity. While the U.S. Department of


Causes of Poverty Poor thinking is the root cause of poverty in South Peoria. Many were raised in poor neighborhoods. For many, poverty is all they know. Those who cannot provide for themselves experience depression of failure that is reinforced every day.


The Need organizations distributing Food Bank goods. The main problem facing South Peoria residents is poverty. This leads to a myriad of social problems including poor health, crime, and poor education. Coincidentally, these same symptoms contribute to the root cause of poverty, which is the poverty mindset of failure. While the people need food and assistance for other expenses, they also need a renewal of dignity and a hand up. Overcoming the poverty mind-set will require respect, education, and restored hope. It is hard to imagine how one could restore hope while going through such harsh circumstances. Many do not know what it is like to be in such an impoverished state. But for some the picture is painted all too easily. Having to face undesirable circumstances every day is a feeling that some experience all too often.

Every time they walk to the store, every time they put on ripped, stained clothing, every time they receive a small government check in the mail, they receive confirmation that they cannot rise above their poverty. Without proper support for education, many drift through the school system failing, class after class, receiving confirmation of failure. The American Dream is the idea that opportunity is all around, ripe for the taking. Abundant are the success stories of those who rose from the ashes of poverty to become a millionaire businessman or celebrity. Many in the poor neighborhoods long to believe for something better for themselves. But their constant struggle with failure shows great disparity from the fairytale-like believe that they can do better. Another cause of poverty in Tulsa is the poor economy in the United States. Hundreds of thousands Americans lost jobs over the last two years; most have not recovered. Many who have never sought food hand-outs before find themselves requiring assistance through charity groceries. This accounts for the 30-40 percent increase in clients served by

While the poor need food and assistance, they also need a renewal of dignity.



Tulsa’s Poor Background The shrill wailing of police and emergency vehicles fills the early morning air, waking the poverty-stricken citizens of the South Peoria area, Tulsa’s own ghetto. Thick, black smoke of delivery trucks give off the foul smell of progress and pollution. Single mothers walk their young children to school, hoping it will provide them a chance at a better life. Older children walk or wait for the bus to take them. Wearing discount uniforms and backpacks from charity, these children attend underprivileged public schools that have less funding and fewer experienced teachers. By noon the city’s unemployed wander out to handle the cares of the world. Without a vehicle they walk, their tattered clothing soaked in sweat from the journey. It will be late in the afternoon before the crystal meth addicts roam the streets, looking to find their next fix. Some willing to do anything for it. Beyond the orderly, attractive homes of the south Tulsan neighborhoods, just north of the proud golden towers on the Oral Roberts University campus, Tulsa’s poor live in the compact clusters of run-down Section 8 housing.

aftermath. A client survey by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma reported that 48 percent of its clients had to choose between paying for food and paying a utility bill. Another 36 percent had to choose between paying for food and paying for rent. A whopping 34 percent had to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care. These are not statistics from a thirdworld country. This is the backyard of some of the world’s richest. Yet, many still have to decide between the basics of survival, food or shelter. According to a February 2nd article in the Tulsa World, 20 percent of Tulsan’s couldn’t afford to buy food when needed. This leads to a growing number turning to food bank agencies. The Eastern Oklahoma food bank has seen a 40 percent increase in clients requesting food assistance in 2009. These statistics reveal the harsh reality of financial adversity of the city’s poor.

20 percent of Tulsans couldn’t afford to buy food when needed.

Teenage pregnancy and STDs Another pressing social issue in Tulsa is teen pregnancy, as Oklahoma has the 6th highest rate of pregnant teenagers in the United States. This can indicate low moral accountability for teenagers, as well as lack of education about and access to contraceptives. The affect on the community, however, can be devastating.

Hunger While the United States may be slowly recovering from economic recession, the nation’s poor are still devastated in the



Tulsa’s Poor This results in ill-equipped, uneducated parenting, which can lead to more poverty. The teenage promiscuity also results in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, which is growing in Oklahoma and the nation as a whole. Reports indicate that about half of all sexually active young adults will contract a STD by the time they are 25 years old. The Oklahoma State Department of Health identified an outbreak of syphilis occurring among teenagers younger than 18 in the central Oklahoma area. This outbreak is alarming because syphilis can have significant health consequences if untreated. Those most affected by STDs are African Americans who make up a large portion of the South Peoria area. The rates of STDs in Oklahoma have serious consequences to overall community health.

While Tulsa’s violent and property crime rates are relatively average compared to other large cities, the consequences of crime experienced by the individual victim is still devastating, often resulting in distrust of stereotyped members of the community, specifically those of African American decent. This and many other factors contribute to the problem of racism in American society. This further confirms the poverty mind-set that one cannot get ahead in the system. It is for this reason that poverty is often a generational curse. Racism poses an obstacle to many minorities, adding difficulty to obtaining education and employment.

Racism poses an obstacle to many minorities, adding difficulty to obtaining education and employment.

Crime Based on data from the U.S. Census, offenses known to law enforcement per 100,000 people in 2007, Tulsa had a total of 1,193 violent crimes, which include murder with a rate of 14.4, forcible rape with a rate of 78.4, robberies with a rate of 268, and aggravated assaults with a rate 832. Tulsa also has a total of 6,303 property crimes, which include burglary with a rate of 1,794, larceny theft with a rate of 3,545, and vehicle theft with a rate of 964.

Career and Education The most popular profession in Tulsa is in registered nursing. The 7,060 nurses have salaries ranging from $31,000 to upwards of $70,000 per year. Next on the list is accountants and auditors followed by sales representatives. Higher education in Tulsa is something that is important to many community members. The city is home to two major universities and various colleges. However, those in the South Peoria area do not likely take higher education as seriously. While there is no way to measure how many attend college in this area, the amount of poverty indicates the likelihood of lower levels of education.



Tulsa’s Poor However, adult education classes and government-sponsored programs enable a greater number of Tulsa’s poor to acquire higher education and pursue higher paying careers. Infant Mortality and Child Abuse In 2004, there were 51,157 births in Oklahoma, and 51 deaths of children, 23 of which were infants less than one year old. Most of the deaths were cause by child neglect. These infant deaths make up 45 percent of all child abuse cases. While no profile of the infants or the birth circumstances is available, the mother is most often convicted. A majority of these mothers are either adolescents or have a history of mental illness. Because poverty is a big contributor to both high teen pregnancy rates, as well as untreated mental illness, it is clear that poverty has consequences, even to the youngest in the Tulsa community. The infant mortality rate of the United States rivals the rates of developing countries with a rate of 8 infant deaths for every 1,000 births. The rate is even higher for African Americans as there are 13 deaths for every 1,000 births. Some blame it on out-of-hospital births, though the United States has a lower number of these types compared even to other developed countries. Others blame it on unnecessary use of medical interventions


such as Cesarean surgery, which dramatically increased over the years. The area of South Peoria is characterized by poverty and hopelessness. Plagued by hunger, crime, and teenage promiscuity, many lack the tools necessary to maintain healthy lifestyles. From the elderly to the infant, these residents suffer without proper education. A cycle of failure and despairing continues from generation to generation of Tulsa’s poor. Though the Tulsa community, as a whole, displays dedication to education and religion, this fervor has not steeped into its poorest regions. Tulsa’s ghettos have a broken culture that can only be fixed by breaking the cycle of despondency. However, there are those who seek to do just that. Harvest House has a heart for the community and are filling the gaps and restoring what was once broken. Though their size may be modest, as an organization they are second to none and their impact has created a ripple effect throughout the Tulsa community. Making a difference wherever and whenever they can.


The infant mortality rate of the U.S. rivals those of developing countries with 8 deaths for every 1,000 births.

Meeting the Need Feeding the Hungry Each week 30-35 of Tulsa’s poorest families are fed and assisted by Harvest House. Beginning in 1998, Harvest House started with just a few bags of groceries faithfully brought each week to a small church pantry. Though the area surrounding the church represented one of the most populated poor regions, no similar social service was in this area. Answering the need, Virginia Runnells of Open Bible Fellowship set up shop with just a folding table, chair and a wastebasket. Today, Harvest House has grown to more than 15 volunteers who assist more than 1,400 families each year. On an annual budget of $15,000, Harvest House provides food, clothing, utilities, medical, rent assistance, transportation, and education to needy families. Their mission is to meet the pressing physical, social and spiritual needs of Tulsa’s poor in a manner that preserves the client’s dignity. Conveying a sense of value and worth to the clients served is the cornerstone of the operation. As a way of communicating this worth to clients, Harvest House provides services through appointments set up on Wednesdays; the organizations only day of operation. A system of appointments ensures that clients won’t wait all day to discover they cannot be helped. If someone has an appointment, they will be helped. Those served are welcomed to a comfortable waiting area

with coffee and pastries. Then, they speak to a counselor to determine and meet their specific need. If they receive groceries, they are asked to fill out a grocery menu, which helps the volunteers determine their unique size and dietary needs. Transportation is also considered, as it would be difficult for one to carry large grocery bags on a bus. Last, but certainly not least, the counselor offers to pray with the client. Many clients have come to salvation for the first time through this ministry. Throughout the process, the individuals served are constantly reminded of their importance. By the end of the visit, they are refreshed, with needs met and hope renewed. A Growing Need: While Harvest House makes a substantial impact meeting the needs of the poor community, there is still a desperate need for more. Currently, Harvest House can only serve one in three calling for appointments. As the effects of the poor economy make their sting, the number seeking assistance continues to grow. For this reason, Harvest House has set specific goals over the next two years to help meet the growing need. The first is to improve the quality of services delivered. The Eastern Oklahoma Regional Food Bank has set a goal for each agency receiving food from the bank to offer a four to five day supply of groceries to families served. Currently, Harvest House

30-35 of Tulsa’s poorest families are assisted by Harvest House each week.


can only meet 65 percent of that goal. In the next two years, they would like to see their food budget increase in order to provide at least four days of groceries to each family. Harvest House also seeks to add to the variety of groceries offered, as well as increase portions of meat and protein sources to each client. Additionally, Harvest House needs better refrigeration and freezers to aid in food storage. Currently, they use household refrigerators and two industrial freezers purchased with a QuikTrip grant. They are in need of new industrial-grade refrigeration and one more freezer. This is important as money is wasted on food spoilage and repairs on old equipment costing almost $1,500 each year. With appropriate food cooling units, Harvest House would be able to meet the needs of the hungry with more efficiency. Next, Harvest House seeks to expand the range of services offered to clients. To do this, they need more financial resources to expand utility bill assistance for clients. This is especially important as those most devastated by extreme temperatures, children and the elderly, make up the largest portion of those in poverty. Increased financial resources are also essential to help provide transportation assistance to clients in the form of bus tokens

and gasoline cards. Transportation assistance is necessary to help individuals find and keep employment, as well as for medical emergencies. As more struggle with house or rent payments, Harvest House needs more money to aid these needs. This keeps families at risk off the streets, directly affecting the homeless rate in Tulsa. Finally, Harvest House seeks to meet more client demands by operating more hours on Wednesdays, and even possibly expanding to more days each week. To do this would require more financial, food, and clothing resources to offer to an increased volume of clients. They would also need more volunteers as well as part-time paid staff positions. A paid receptionist position would be beneficial, as it requires clerical skills, training, and a thorough knowledge of Harvest House to effectively provide these services. The current volunteer system has a high turnover rate, making training difficult and filling the position even more so.

Currently, Harvest House can only serve one in three seeking help. Their goal is to meet the needs of everyone seeking help.

Results and Evaluation Harvest House has a reputation of efficiently and effectively meeting the needs of their clients. This tradition of reliability and transparency guarantees that money donated to Harvest House will reach those in lack.


Meeting the Need Currently, their board of directors provides 30 percent of the organization’s annual budget. This demonstrates the organization’s dedication to serving the underprivileged, as much of the money comes from their own pockets. Also, as the organization is completely volunteer-based, donors can rest assured that all money donated will be used appropriately and benefit the needy community of Tulsa. Each year Harvest House produces an annual report to give to their donors. This report outlines their operating budget, displaying expenses and income. The report also discusses what the organization accomplished during the year. This includes the amount given to families through utilities, rent, medical assistance, as well as house many families were fed. Finally, the report includes a list of projected goals to accomplish during the next year. Donors can examine how their dollars were spent and what was accomplished during the year. Transparency is a top priority to Harvest House, who offers this report and a full tour of their facilities to anyone interested in donating.

Every dollar donated to Harvest House goes directly to purchasing food, clothing, or is given to individuals needing rent, medical, or utility assistance. Any of the goals accomplished will benefit the individuals served. If any of the Harvest House goals are not met, it changes nothing. Harvest House is committed to seeing the organization expand to meet the growing needs of the population served, and they will continue to work to see this accomplished. Remaining good stewards of what support they have been given, Harvest House hopes to make their goals of expansion of services into a reality. By reaching who they can with what they have, Harvest House is a bridge for many in the community.


Every dollar donated to Harvest House goes directly to purchasing food, clothing, or giving client assistance.



Annual Budget

To meet the growing need for food and financial assistance, Harvest House has several manageable goals they wish to meet in the next two years requiring a total of $43,500. With these improvements Harvest House will be able to provide four to five days of food to more than 1,800 client families, a near 30 percent increase from this year. Harvest House would also be able to triple utilities assistance available for clients, allowing them to expand to cover both the hot summer season as well as the frigid winter. With all of these projects completed, providing adequate food and utilities assistance to one needy family will cost just over $24.

Two-year Goals Update Refrigeration


Expand Food Program


Expand Utilities Assistance


Part-time Receptionist




Annual Costs Currently Harvest House operates on a $14,650 cash budget each year. This annual cash flow provides for counseling, food, and clothing for more than 1,400 families each year. All other expenses related to operation are managed in-kind by Open Bible Fellowship; the church from which Harvest House originated. Estimated expenses of operations total $38,255. Included in that are office supplies, utilities, and $30,000 for rental of the 6,000 square-foot space within Open Bible’s facility. The in-kind services provided by Open Bible Fellowship covers the estimated $38,244 in operations. The other expenses are covered by $6,250 in funds received from Open Bible Fellowship and $8,400 in cash donations. Agency Support


Harvest house has received support from many organizations in the community. Their largest partner is Open Bible Fellowship. The church provides for most of the operational needs of Harvest House. The organization also allies with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to purchase most of their groceries at a greatly discounted price. According to the Food Bank’s calculation, Harvest House only pays 7 cents for every dollar’s worth of food. Harvest House is also a member of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program. Because of this membership, the organization receives a large amount of food for free. Additionally, Panera Bread donates a large load of bread and pastries to Harvest House each Wednesday; in addition, Harvest House receives financial support from the Hille Foundation. The organization also received a $10,000 donation from the QuikTrip Foundation to purchase replacement freezers for the facility. Finally, last year the Tulsa Community Foundation gave a $3,000 grant to help with client utility bills. With a strong reputation of helping the community, Harvest House has been successful at enlisting the help of local foundations to meet the needs of the impoverished. However,

their work is far from over. With the generous help of donors, Harvest House can continue to meet the growing need in Tulsa. American poet and peace activitist Daniel Berrigan once wrote, “Sometime in your life, I hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought it or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.” Imagine the hope that can be restored, the dignity that can be upheld and the needing hearts that can be rescued. Harvest House was established to serve the poor and needy in the Tulsa community by attempting to meet some of their most pressing physical, social and spiritual needs in a manner that preserves dignity and affirms self-worth. A single agency cannot meet all the complex needs of the unfortunate and disenfranchised in the community, but one thing is certain. Harvest House has a consistent emphasis on serving the needs of their clients by helping them become more self-sufficient with and through the love of a heavenly Father, working through ordinary people like you and me.

Harvest House only pays 7 cents for every dollar’s worth of food.


Created by: Katie Arnold Desiree Frierson Erica McMains Sherman Merchant Jeremy Moore

Harvest House 1439 E. 71st Street | Tulsa, OK 74136 20

Harvest House  


Harvest House