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Economy impairs ministries providing Thanksgiving meals

High inflation and a slow economy are making it harder for local shelters to feed the needy this Thanksgiving. Shelter KC, which will serve nearly 4,000 meals this week, is feeling the squeeze.

“We’re kind of getting right down to that end,” Executive Director Eric Burger says. “We pretty much need to have things in the next couple of days. We certainly understand more now than ever when people give how much it’s a sacrificial gift.”

Burger believes fewer donations are tied to the effects of inflation and higher prices of foods. He also said the community has had to readjust to pre-pandemic volunteering. “Coming and going to the store and now coming and bringing it (the donations) down,” he said. “We kind of have to get readjusted to do those things.”

Volunteer Sidni Sprenkle has been coming to the shelter for the last three years to help during Thanksgiving. It’s the look on people’s faces when the meals are delivered that keeps her coming back, she said, reminiscing about one elderly woman she met who touched her heart.

“She had cleaned her entire apartment for her family to come over,” Sprenkle said. “I cried when I was leaving, because she was so grateful that we were able to deliver not only meals for her but she was able to feed her whole family.”

The same feeling rings true for Tamika Burns, who works in the kitchen. She has been with the shelter for eight years and, in her words, “wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

“I thank God for the blessings that come through these doors,” Burns said. “It makes me feel good to know that we serve them good food, and they feel comfortable and loving when they come in here.”

This week, Shelter KC will serve 75 smoked turkeys, 400 pies and 16 to 20 pans of macaroni and cheese and green beans. Not one person will be turned away. “That’s what this is all about, just making them feel special,” Burns said.

For more information or to donate or volunteer, contact Shelter KC at (816) 421-7643.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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