Neighbors Along the Line (Neighbors) began in 1976 when the minister of John Knox Presbyterian Church, Dr. Richard Evans received a phone call from a social worker at the Tulsa Housing Authority. An abused wife and mother had arrived in Tulsa with her children owning nothing but the clothes on their backs. The Housing Authority gave them shelter and the John Knox congregation provided food, furnishings and other necessities.
From this beginning came Neighbors Along the Line. The non-profit organization was to help residents receive food, emergency medical attention, etc. We serve approximately 5.5 square miles in Northwest Tulsa. While this area once thrived with industry and oil, it now largely consists of unemployed and under-employed residents.
Neighbor’s boundaries are Highway 244 to the East, 81st Street to the West, the Arkansas River to the South and Edison Street (the Osage County Line) to the North. In 2008 we added the city of Sand Springs to our primary service area for food assistance.
The Sandy Park area was the focus of assistance from 1976 to 1981. Need of a medical clinic was brought to the attention of Dr. Ledbetter, member of John Knox Presbyterian Church. He was the founder of the present day Monday night free clinic.
Over the years, Neighbors served residents in the Charles Page area of Tulsa from a number of different locations. Some of our many locations over the years have included, Sandy Park Apartments, Riley School and Harrison Memorial Methodist Church. In 1997, our current location, a 5600 square foot community center was completed.
While the area served by Neighbors was once a major industrial and residential area, loss of major employers, expressway construction and other factors combined to cause tremendous losses in population and income to area residents. This area is often referred to by residents as the forgotten part of Tulsa. Frequently when programs are cut, this is the first area to lose services. According to the most recent Census Tract data for our primary service area, 56% of the approximately 10,000 households are considered low income.
As part of our services, we do make sure and provide clients with information on ways to take an active role in improving their situations. The most common referrals we make in the Food Pantry program are to our Literacy Program for help with GED or job searches, or to the Department of Human Services for SNAP program enrollment.
Many area residents do not have transportation, so Neighbors strives to provide as many services in one location as possible. Residents can receive help with food, medical needs, literacy issues, job search assistance, utility assistance, legal questions, WIC referrals, substance abuse and various “seasonal” programs such as immunizations, Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance.
Neighbors is run by a core group of three full-time and two part-time staff members, an active Board of Directors and over fifty regular volunteers. All of our services are provided free of charge through the generosity of foundations, individuals, churches and corporations.