Listen to this article here
Volunteers from the Reed Community Foundation and Feed the Children packing non-perishable food and personal items into cars at the Ben Hill Recreation Center parking lot in North Tulsa for Giving Tuesday [Tuesday, December 12, 2019 | Photos by Nehemiah D. Frank with the Black Wall Street Times]
Published 12/03/2019 | Reading Time 2 min 18 sec
By BWSTimes Staff
TULSA, Okla. — The Ben Hill Recreation Center, once the epicenter for summer splashing, in its swimming pool, and indoor basketball court — among other recreational activities, then as one of the many dilapidating eyesores in a neighborhood that was overlooked for decades, will once again become the community’s beating heart that restores hope and progress in spring 2020 and beyond.
The Reed Community Foundation will soon occupy the old Ben Hill Recreation Center, named after Benjamin Harrison Hill — an honorable lawmaker, educator, and editorialist for the Oklahoma Eagle.
However, the Foundation isn’t waiting until spring 2020 to start making a positive impact. For Giving Tuesday 2019, the Foundation partnered with Feed the Children to help supply some 400 Tulsa families with food and personal care items from the Ben Hill parking lot.
“Today, we are here with the Reed Foundation to help 400 families in the Tulsa area. The families will be receiving a 25-pound box of non-perishable food items, a 15-pound box of personal care items — stuff that WIC and SNAP don’t always cover, along with some detergent, and sox. We’re able to really help these families — augment a family of four — for up to a week, for each voucher. This is a great blessing; it’s been a great blessing to partner with the Reed Foundation to make this happen,” Aaron Hazel, the event planning manager for Feed the Children, said and added, “This event, here today, is a part of our no hunger holiday. We’re serving over 20,000 families in the state of Oklahoma.”
Since 2005, the Reed Community Foundation has been a staple of the North Tulsa community, providing after-school activities, summer camp, in-house tutoring, life skills education, character-building development, parental relationship development, along with nutrition and clothing assistance.
The Foundation’s mission is in direct alignment with the city’s parks and recreation’s vision plan, which is to create a quality park system that meets the community’s need for recreation and learning opportunities to benefit health and well-being.
The former city councilor of District 7, Anna America, having listened to the concerns from north Tulsa residents regarding the lack of recreational facilities and parks in the north Tulsa community — as the city’s new parks and recreation director — partnered the City of Tulsa with the Reed Community Foundation in a collaborative effort to revitalize the Ben Hill Recreation Center.
The collaboration will enable the Foundation to reach even more children and provide more services. The new facility will be large enough to accommodate the following:
- Gymnasium for Basketball & Volleyball
- Classrooms for Counseling, Tutoring, Art, & a Library
- Food & Clothing Pantry
- Boys & Girls Locker Rooms
- Equipment Storage
If there’s additional funding, the Foundation plans to build a STEM lab.
With Improve Our Tulsa funding, the City of Tulsa has allocated $2.75 million to revitalizes the sports court, playground, picnic area, and sidewalks for the building and its grounds. The city will also fund an additional $177,000 from a 2006 sales tax package that is needed to replace the Ben Hill’s roof and other exteriors required to get the edifice up and running before the spring opening.
Those interested in donating to the Reed Community Foundation may do so by clicking here.
Those interested in donating to Feed the Children may do so by clicking here.