Weather forecasters are saying this will be brutal winter for the region. Record snow and low temperatures included. That means more families in need, more homeless looking for shelter and more opportunities for area Christians to pitch in and help area ministries.
For three decades, Metro Voice has worked with area ministries to share the tremendous need for volunteers and resources during the holiday season. When called upon, Kansas City serves! November and December are crucial times each year. It is during this period that ministries are stretched both in terms of the need for volunteers and and financial help as at-risk families seek assistance. But it is also a special time when people’s hearts are naturally turned toward God. City Union Mission Director Dan Doty has reminded us that Thanksgiving and especially Christmas are those special holidays that most of us long to keep centered on thankfulness and that most special of gifts—the Christ Child.
“Yet,” says Doty, “so many of us get overly caught up in the gift-giving and receiving side of Christmas that we crowd out that baby born to bring salvation and eternal life to the world.”
Metro Voice has annually used the month of November to connect readers with ministries that serve the homeless and at-risk families in our communities. Through our Ministry Needs Guide, we publish the Christmas “wish list” of these organizations and how you can help them meet the growing needs facing many Kansas City area citizens. We focus on several of the larger organizations and what they are doing to meet the needs of the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving and running to Christmas.
We hope through these efforts, our readers and the broader community will find a place to “plug in” and serve our less fortunate neighbors.
City Union Mission
City Union Mission director Dan Doty says that many of those they serve each day at the mission come from increasingly secular homes. “They’ve had limited exposure, if any, to genuine Christianity and come with either no knowledge, limited knowledge or a distorted understanding of the Good News of Christmas,” he states.
“We begin early to emphasize to our special guests why we celebrate Christmas. We intentionally plan each event and dinner so as not to secularize it or cause our guests to be overwhelmed, but to stay focused on “the Reason for the Season.”
The mission needs your help to provide the items to prepare a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for less-fortunate families, senior citizens and lonely shut-ins. Here’s how you can help.
For the Thanksgiving meal, your donations from the list below will be boxed with a turkey in containers provided by All Packaging and delivered to as many as 200 income-qualified households in time for Thanksgiving Day. Please deliver your items by November 20 to the Mission Food Warehouse/Distribution Center at 1020 E. 10th Street, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call first.
Items needed include canned green beans and corn, coffee (ground/instant), fruit juice and toilet paper.
For Christmas, families who shop at their Christmas store will also receive a turkey and food bag with items to provide a Christmas dinner for a family of four. In addition, City Union served 200 nursing home residents, 1,000 Jackson County inmates, 610 families and was helped by 1,500 volunteers! Donations are now being accepted at their Christmas Store, 1700 E. 8th St., Kansas City, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The bags will be delivered the day before Christmas, along with the gifts the family has chosen from the store. You can shop for the items below and place them in a heavy paper bag. Last year CUM served 2000 people.
City Union Mission needs 600 bags in all to ensure every family receives one.
Items include one 16-oz. box instant potatoes, two boxes stuffing mix, two packets gravy mix, two 15-oz. cans yams, one small bag marshmallows, one box pie crust mix, two 14-oz. cans green beans, one can cranberry sauce , one 15-oz. can pie filling and one package Crystal Light drink mix, plus a prayer card for the family.
The Salvation Army’s 2017 Red Kettle Campaign in Kansas City has kicked off, and continues through Christmas Eve, every day except Thanksgiving Day and Sundays. This year, volunteers will be ringing bells at more than 250 locations in the metropolitan area.
2018 brings a new opportunity for Kansas City to donate to the issues and causes that they care most about. The Red Kettle Gift Catalog is now available and online at www.RedKettleGifts.org.
“By giving life-changing gifts from this catalog in honor of your loved ones, you can be the good that lifts up a neighbor who has fallen.” said Major Evie Diaz, divisional commander of The Salvation Army in Kansas City.” These donations will help us provide food, clothing and shelter to people in need in their own community throughout the year and during the Christmas season.”
The money collected during the Red Kettle Campaign supports a number of Salvation Army programs in the area including emergency rent and utility assistance, homeless services, youth and senior programs, substance abuse services and disaster response.
“Every cent dropped into a Red Kettle allows us to meet the on-going and ever-increasing demand for the services we provide,” Diaz said.
The Salvation Army is also seeking volunteers for other programs including the annual Christmas dinner on Sunday, December 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 101 W. Linwood, Kansas City.
Help is needed in providing a traditional Christmas meal to our community on Christmas Day.
They need drivers to deliver meals, kitchen helpers, dishwashers, set-up helpers, pie cutters, silverware wrappers, drink makers, volunteers at sign-in tables and phones, greeters, gift table helpers, beverage servers, table servers, pie servers, table cleaners, trash pullers, dining room clean up help and kitchen clean up help.
You can volunteer for these programs by calling 816-968-0396.
Metro Lutheran Ministries
Since 1971 Metro Lutheran Ministry (MLM) provides critical help and serve the poorest of the poor in greater Kansas City. They distribute millions of pounds of food, hot breakfast each Saturday at two locations and assist with employment and GED assistance. Volunteers with MLM are crucial in making Thanksgiving and Christmas possible for thousands of area families. Working throughout the year, money is raised through special events to purchase gifts through corporate and individual donations.
A Thanksgiving packing party is planned for the November. Volunteers of ALL ages are needed. Help MLM pack Thanksgiving baskets for needy families!
The Christmas store will be open Dec. 6 through 9 and volunteers are needed to fill slots. The store will be located at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1700 Westport Rd., Kansas City.
For information, call 816-931-0027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Promise of the Northland
There’s a misconception that the Northland is affluent with very little need. But the reality is much starker. The mission of Family Promise of the Northland is to assist families in crises due to homelessness. They provide food, shelter, training and other assistance for families. Families are home-based in their day center where they have personal storage space, a personal bathroom with a shower, and a shared computer room, shared kitchenette, shared laundry facilities, and family room space. Each evening families are transported by van to a host church in the Northland where church people provide meals and food for the next day, as well as sleeping space. Families are transported back to the center each morning early enough to go to school and work or to seek employment and housing. Each Sunday, the hosting church changes and their families stay at a different church for the next week. They are limited to serving no more than 14 persons at a time because of space in the van. Families receive a lot of attention from Family Promise volunteers and receive professional training classes in budgeting and life skills in the church two nights of the week.
Churches have a wonderful opportunity of doing mission right in their own building.
Family Promise offers many opportunities for those who would like to provide food, work as a host or hostess in their own church, and provide support through sleeping in their own church during the nights. The organization prefers to work through churches. Would your church be able to provide hosting space and support for one week about four times per year? Training is required for all volunteers. Financial assistance for this program is always needed. Gifts of meals, volunteers, CDL van drivers, linens and towels for their families is also needed.
To understand this program better or if you or your church are interested in helping with Family Promise of the Northland, please contact Marilyn Gardner or Bridget Mendoza at (816-888-7070). For more information visit their website at www.familypromisenorthland.org.
Kansas City Rescue Mission
Kansas City Rescue Mission (KCRM) wants to make it easy for you to reach out to our neighbors in need. In November, KCRM and partnering churches will continue the tradition of providing feasts for the homeless through their onsite nine-day Celebration of Thanks.
Volunteers will also deliver over 550 hot, single-serving, turkey dinners to poverty-stricken families, elderly and injured on Thanksgiving Day. Three different volunteer units will help cook the meals, assemble and deliver them throughout Kansas City to families who need a reason to give thanks. Don’t have time to volunteer? Donate food or cash to help them purchase food.
Another component of the outreach will provide multi-meal food baskets to families in need all over the city. In all, the Mission anticipates feeding 3,000 needy people this Thanksgiving.
For a list of things needed contact email@example.com or call 816-421-7643.
Join Metro Voice in encouraging your family and friends to serve those in need this year. For more info on other worthy organizations visit us online at www.metrovoicenews.com.
–By Dwight Widaman