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Why We Exist; What We Have Done; Our Next Steps With Your Help

 Quick Look at our 74126, 74130 McLain/Turley Area And Our Response and Major Next Steps Needed

A Third Place Community Foundation,

We also serve Sperry through our free food store, and the gardenpark and orchard is for all with no geographic restrictions.

Proximate Boundaries: 46th to 76th St. North, Highway 75 to Osage County Line
We are more than our statistics. We have strengths and spirit, and beautiful land, and people helping people in many ways. But, also….

1.     We die 10.7 years sooner than in midtown just 6 miles away on Peoria Ave. We and others are making a difference; when we began in 2007, the life expectancy gap was 13.8 years. Life expectancy studies reveal 10 percent comes from clinical treatment, 20 percent comes from genetics; that leaves 70 percent of the impact to come from lifestyle choices (50 percent) and environmental factors (20 percent, much of which contributes to the capacity to make good lifestyle choices).

2.     Rated Second Worse Zipcode in Tulsa for health outcomes: based on 1 best and 5 worst scale, the 74126 is 4.320 and our neighbor 74106 is the worst at 4.570. 74130 is 3.950 the fifth worst. By comparison 74114 is 2.150, so more than twice healthier. Our zipcode has the Worst health care access rates.

3.     2009 OU and Third Place Foundation nutrition study: 60 percent can’t afford healthy food; 55 percent worry about amount of food they have; 6 percent use spoiled food; 29 percent adults skip meals. .31 percent receive food from church, 35 percent borrow food from family, 25 percent borrow food from friends, 25 percent adults skip entire day from eating, 29 percent adults skip meals, 26 percent did not eat and are hungry at time of survey, 43 percent eat less than they should, 60 percent eat low cost foods, 52 percent cannot afford nutritious meals, 57 percent run out of food. The Food environment: 29 percent have no affordable source of food in community, 63 percent know about a food pantry, 56 percent rate the food quality in Turley area as fair or poor, 59 percent indicate food in Turley area expensive or very expensive relative to budget. Overall Health: 56 percent not currently healthy, 41 percent health is fair or poor, 54 percent are overweight, 66 percent say they should weigh less, 47 percent smoke or use other tobacco.

4.     2013 OU and Third Place Foundation study just at our Food Store: 52.6 percent high food insecurity; 42.1 percent very high food insecurity, experiencing hunger symptoms when surveyed; 68.4 percent of households have at least one member with nutrition-related chronic disease; 53 percent depression; 47 percent anxiety; 53 percent high blood pressure; 32 percent high cholesterol; 47 percent obese and 21 percent overweight.

5. Our demographic at food store: 68 percent women, 42 percent black, 36 percent white, 63 percent under $10,000 annual household income; 5 percent employed, 47.4 percent disabled, 42 percent less than high school education and 16 percent have a high school degree.

6. We connect and serve with some 1000 of our neighbors monthly, of the 11,500 in our primary service area. Our population has declined by 1000 in the past four years which means the needs have increased as more has closed. Unemployment numbers are double the state average.

Our Response:
In 2007 we turned our church inside out and focused organization on community concerns and connections and opened up a community center with a computer center, library, clothing room, meeting space and soon housed an OU Health Clinic and began working with OU Graduate Social Work program on community forums and projects. Called it A Third Place as part of the global third places or third spaces movement of creating free public spaces where people could meet and work with people who are different from them to make a difference around them.

In 2009 we formed A Third Place Community Foundation as a non-faith-based non-profit, and began demonstration community garden on donated church land. In 2010 we raised funds aided by a project by the OU Graduate Design Studio, to buy the block of abandoned neglected burned out properties and illegal dump site across from where our demonstration garden was located, and with federal stimulus funds we began clearing it; that year we also bought a large abandoned church building to move the community center into for expansion. In 2011 as the OU health clinic closed with us, we began working with OU Graduate Social Work intern and classes to develop a lay health worker plan that would use our residents mentoring our residents who go to the emergency room the most, and the “medical mentors” would be trained by OU community medicine residents but funding never came to initiate the program.

In 2011 in our new space in the old vandalized church building we expanded our programs for the community center meeting space, free bookstore, computer center, art room, clothing and more room, and expanded our food pantry and store. We hold community festivals in both the Center and at the GardenPark and Orchard.

In 2011 we won an online contest for the community orchard; and we received a federal home loan bank grant for our park site preparation. For the past five years we have been living and growing in and adding to both of our properties, as well as working on blighted areas in the community.   

Next major steps

for the GardenPark and Orchard: finish the greenhouse, add aquaponics and kitchen; construct the 2100 sq ft hoop house; expand the Children’s Garden; build the 20 foot long Welcome Table; construct a stage, a deck, and a shade area. Launch the annual Grow Pots program to help families at the food store to grow their own food at home. Help people start smaller gardens on abandoned lots in their neighborhoods.

for the Community Center: Finish the Community Room in the south building for the free bookstore, computer area, classroom, kitchen, meeting space; move and expand the art rooms and studio and create a gallery in the Central Building; expand the food store with a third room for shopping and added storage; Finish the outside Permaculture Flood Management Project, and outdoor deck and gardens and benches and small hoop house. 

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