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Angel in an apron feeds needy

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Debra Dixon calls this pot Big Bertha. Debra Dixon calls this pot Big Bertha.
Iron Gate feeds nearly 300 people everyday. Iron Gate feeds nearly 300 people everyday.

By Rick Wells for NEWS 9

TULSA, Okla. - Local charities are struggling, but one woman has gotten creative with stretched resources at a Tulsa feeding program.

As costs rise, so do the number of people in need. Charities must stretch resources and donations to covering these growing needs.

But Debra Dixon knows all the secrets on how to make it work.

:"We're getting ready to do bread pudding," said Dixon.

She has leftover biscuits from Monday's biscuits and gravy, she found enough milk and Reasor's donated sugar and eggs.

"If we don't get egg donations they don't get bread pudding," this former corporate trainer turned kitchen manager and cook said.

Iron Gate feeds nearly 300 people everyday including many from Tulsa's homeless and more from the working poor.

Debra Dixon started cooking here 7 years ago. She said the numbers keep going up.

"The numbers are 2 or 3 times what they were back then," Dixon said.

Making the food go far enough requires a little magic and a little faith.

"Sometimes I have to pray about it, Lord, send some meat, send some meat," the kitchen manager said.

Chili-mac casserole is a community pot-luck with pasta from the food bank, donated tomatoes, and left-over meat from a charity chili cook off.

Debra's husband Ernest is the Iron Gate Operations Manager. He checks the food bank.

Depending on what the food bank has, Dixon will work items together with something else to make stews or other impromptu dishes.

Flexibility and creativity are required, like making up a recipe for bread pudding using left over biscuits.

"All I knew was, I couldn't go on throwing away biscuits," Dixon said.

It's her mission to make sure folks who come in hungry go out satisfied. For many, she's like an angel in an apron.

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