Meals on Wheels new $15 million building will allow group to serve 1 million meals a year

TULSA, Okla. — In just three weeks, Meals on Wheels Metro Tulsa hopes to open the doors of its new $15 million headquarters near E 51st and S Yale.

The state-of-the-art, 29,500-square-foot facility is more than four times the size of the group’s current site in Tulsa on 31st.

Meals on Wheels’ new CEO and President Katie Oatsvall met with FOX23 Monday for a walk through the new facility. This tour came just weeks before their official opening coming up on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Oatsvall described the new, 8,500-square-foot kitchen as the heart of the operation, allowing Meals on Wheels to expand their reach by serving 1 million meals a year with more space.

“We know there are people who need more than one meal delivered a day,” Oatsvall explained. “Our goal is to bring back an entire volunteer corps to get that hot meal delivered daily and then expand from there.”

Oatsvall said they want to meet current client needs and the needs of those they haven’t served yet.

Vice President of Community Relations and Development for Meals on Wheels Bob Beard told FOX23 that pre-pandemic Meals on Wheels Tulsa was serving about 300,000 meals a year.

They’re now hitting much higher numbers. As of Aug. 29, the group has delivered 525,000 meals to date.

Eli Huff, the project manager who designed the kitchen, said the new space will allow the group to grow that number each year.

“This kitchen can handle almost 1.2 million meals a year,” Huff explained. “I know they’re not at that number yet. That’s the goal. We left some spaces open to add equipment down the road.”

The $15 million capitol campaign kicked off in March 2019. The group is now $1 million away from meeting their fundraising goal.

The lead gift in the project came from the Hardesty Family Foundation. Because of this, the new headquarters is named the Hardesty Service Center.

Meals on Wheels Metro Tulsa had a significant drop off in volunteers during the pandemic. Volunteer numbers dropped from 2,200 to only 600.

If you would like to get involved with Meals on Wheels, you can get more information on their website.