Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Success tastes good: Skyline completes kitchen

3/23/2018

Skyline Director Debbie Ingraham stirs up food fun. photo by Chris Schutz
BY CHRIS SCHUTZ

OKLAHOMA CITY — An expanded kitchen with gleaming new equipment means Skyline Urban Ministry can serve up meals to more clients and offer classes in healthy cooking, said Director Debbie Ingraham.

The kitchen project, which took about two years to plan and complete with volunteer labor, was finished in February, Rev. Ingraham said.

Volunteer labor by professional construction workers cut $40,000 from what would have been a total cost $120,000, she said. The project was funded through individual donations and grants.

OKC-St. Luke’s satellite known as the Asbury campus, on SW 38th Street, volunteered its space for Skyline’s clients to eat while the work was taking place. United Methodist-related Skyline is located at 500 SE 15th.

The expansion project involved removing walls to enlarge the kitchen space and installing a six-burner stove, commercial refrigerator, convection oven, warming oven, three-compartment sink, hand-washing sink, and a high-heat dishwasher that cycles through a load in three minutes.

A new supply of conventional dishes and utensils means the center doesn’t have to serve food on disposable dinnerware.

Coffee system a great perk

Yet the item that caused the most excitement was the coffee system directly connected to a water line, so the pot doesn’t have to be filled by hand, Ingraham said with a smile.

Skyline welcomes 30 to 40 clients who are ages 55 and older to enjoy breakfast and lunch on Monday through Friday. On Saturday, when anyone can come for brunch — often breakfast casseroles or burritos and fruit — about 80 people come.

Some church groups prepare and bring meals that can be warmed up and served at the center, Ingraham said. “We are always looking for groups to help.”

The urban ministry serves marginalized people of “every background, every culture,” she said. There are no strings attached.

Director turns to scripture

Ingram referred to Matthew 25:40 in describing Skyline’s purpose: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

“Our mission is to fill the gaps for those folks in need,” she said. “We’re about transforming lives.”

The cooking classes, led by a nutritionist from OSU-OKC, are offered to “impact the way adults cook.” One of Skyline’s goals to help break generational poverty is educating parents because healthier children do better in school, Ingraham said.

Hunger or illness can overshadow spiritual concerns, she said.

The ministry’s focus on health means clients can consult with a nutritionist, get tested for hypertension and diabetes, and take exercise classes.

In April, Skyline will begin offering classes on growing vegetables indoors using a “tower garden,” especially successful for kale, spinach, herbs, and cherry tomatoes, Ingraham listed. The system requires less watering and protects plants from hail, cold, and wind. The plants go from seed to harvest in four weeks, she said.

An outdoor community garden also is being planned on property at the east side of the Skyline building.

 

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