The mission of Restore Hope Ministries is to restore families in financial crisis to economic and spiritual vitality.
Financial crisis can strike anyone, but especially vulnerable are middle to low-income working families with fewer extra dollars to save in emergency funds. A family with an unexpected loss of income who visits Restore Hope receives individual case management services to identify their individual needs such as rental assistance, groceries, school supplies, Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas family sponsorships, “housekeeping” (cleaning) kits, and other needs and resource assistance as identified by the family and caseworker. Restore Hope is committed to restoring families in financial crisis to economic and spiritual vitality. Restore Hope has been able build upon our successes by enhancing our existing programs in ways that give families that hand-up to self-sufficiency. By helping families through their short-term hardship, connecting resources, and developing a financial plan, Restore Hope supports sustainability for families which strengthens the entire community.
Homelessness Prevention Initiative: Restore Hope is one of 23 community agencies partnering in A Way Home for Tulsa and the Built for Zero initiatives to combat homelessness. Our role at Restore Hope Ministries is in preventing more families from becoming homeless. When a family faces an unexpected loss of income and is facing eviction, homelessness becomes a very real and daunting threat. Restore Hope provides individual case management and emergency financial assistance to families facing eviction and works with the landlord and family to help the family stay in their home. The Community Service Council documented 699 homeless individuals in Tulsa in January 2014. Restore Hope effectively prevents this number from increasing by assisting families in financial crisis and immediate danger of homelessness. Last year, Restore Hope prevented 852 individuals from being added to Tulsa’s homeless population. Nationally, similar homelessness prevention programs average a success rate of 70%; for the past 5 years, Restore Hope has maintained a success rate exceeding 99% according to third party data collected through the Community Service Council.
Hunger Reduction: When money is tight, families must decide between food and other bills such as rent, heat, medicine, or transportation. Restore Hope’s food pantry strives to give families hope. One way we do this is by offering the dignity of choice. For over thirty years, Restore Hope maintained a standard food pantry, giving a random box of donated foods to families. Restore Hope recently modified our food program to offer families choices. When a family visits Restore Hope for food assistance they meet privately with a case worker and select the foods they and their family would like. For example, they may choose between pasta and rice, which type of meat they like, cereal or oatmeal, and which vegetables they prefer. Last year Restore Hope provided 191,345 pounds of food to 4,135 families in our community. Not only are we increasing the number of families we serve, but we are increasing the quality and quantity of those groceries.
Another way we offer hope is by providing more than non-perishable foods in cans and boxes. Restore Hope offers a plentiful array of fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, milk, eggs, and even frozen meats as funds allow. We maintain partnerships with local farmers and grocers who provide families with seasonal products from their farms and gardens. Restore Hope even maintains a local on-site garden to provide the freshest produce possible. This all goes beyond filling pantries and encourages sustainability, healthy eating habits, and supports the local economy. Although families are allowed up to six visits per year to our pantry, last year over 70% of the families visited only once – which we hope is an indicator that they had moved past their temporary crisis.
Seasonal Extra Helpings: For many families, the extra expenses throughout the year such as holidays and back-to-school are a significant burden. Restore Hope provides school supplies to over 2,800 Tulsa county students each year so they enter the classroom with the tools they need to succeed. Each Thanksgiving we provide over 600 Thanksgiving baskets complete with the turkey and 20 other items including fresh carrots and celery, and every Christmas, supporters from our community adopt selected families to help them celebrate the joy of the season.
Hope Restoration: As an affiliate of the United Methodist Church, we want to share the source of our hope with others who may be in need of spiritual support during their difficult time. Our clients come from many different faith backgrounds therefore we do not require participation in chapel or prayer services but make it available to all who seek such guidance. For some clients, a kind, listening ear is their greatest source of hope.
We are proud of what we do and believe that our success rate speaks for itself. When our clients return to us with thank you cards, repayments, and donations, we see that we have truly met our mission in restoring them to vitality. Last year Debra, whose husband had unexpectedly lost his job, wrote to us, “I’ve never been one to ask for help, but when I needed it most, you were there…Restore Hope is a perfect name for the organization because that is what you did for me.”