Restore OKC partnering with local business to bring education, food access to northeast OKC

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Restore OKC is teaming up with a local business, Simple Modern, to give back in a huge way to the northeast Oklahoma City community.  

“With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we wanted a day that’s really just focused on doing good and giving generously,” said Caylee Dodson, Executive Director of Restore OKC.

For Giving Tuesday, Simple Modern has pledged to match the first $20,000 raised by Restore OKC.  

“They have been a partner of ours really explicitly around educational equity since the very beginning of Restore OKC,” said Dodson.

Their goal is to restore food and educational equity to northeast Oklahoma City.  

“We know there’s an 18-year life discrepancy difference when you cross over 235 into my community. There’s obviously a lot of things that go into play. Between the ice storm, and George Floyd and Covid-19, when communities are wrestling with major turmoil, these things just get exacerbated in ways that are hard to overcome,” said Dodson.  

Food insecurity has plagued northeast Oklahoma City for years.

Most recently, the community’s only grocery store was closed without warning, making it a food desert.  

“We’re not surprised that we’re dealing with a food access issue. We’ve been dealing with that since the grocery store in our community closed with no warning to our community and even before that,” said Dodson.

Restore OKC is already doing its part to provide access to nutritious food with a five-acre urban working farm, Restore Farm.

Middle school and high school students are able to learn, while also working the farm with a paid internship.

The food they grow goes right back into their community and will eventually be sold in the city’s new grocery store.  

“We’ve got lots of programs of support for elementary school partners, but then as those kids grow up into middle and high school, they become employees and continue their educational journey on our five- acre urban farm,” said Dodson.  

At NE 36th and Lincoln, a beacon of hope sits in the form of a brand-new grocery store.

The construction on the new Homeland is expected to be complete by early 2021, but its funding is still lacking.

“About $150,000 gap on the actual development cost, so the hard material cost of building out the grocery store,” said Dodson.  

Restore OKC hopes to raise enough funds to completely fill the gap. They say any excess money will go towards a Hope Center for students to gather to learn virtually.  

“We often talk about faithfulness being what do I have in my hand to give? I don’t have to do the whole thing, but do we all have something to give so that there aren’t communities who experience lack? In a state where we have so much excess, and we’re very blessed. It’s been a hard year for industry all the way around, but we all have enough that we can share something,” said Dodson.  

If you would like to donate to Restore OKC to support Oklahoma City’s northeast side, visit their website.

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