In the holiday issue of The Light, the newsletter of City Union Mission, Director Dan Doty talks about homelessness and reminds us that Thanksgiving and Christmas make this the season of caring and sharing–all because of 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 our November edition to connect area believers 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. In addition, 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.
See page 4 for our Homeless Thanksgiving feature and a list of organizations and their Christmas “wish list” and how you can help.
Meet the Ministries That Help
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.”
Doty says some of the ways they emphasize family during the Christmas season is to allow the dads in their Christian Life Program to shop for their children and the mission opens up a free Christmas store for families in the shelter and in the community to “shop” and choose special gifts for their entire family.
The mission is asking readers to again help this year as they provide special care to many in our community who need the encouragement and assistance that often results in a new or restored relationship with the Savior.
One such organization that has heard that call is a local Christian school. For the last several years, Maranatha Christian Academy in Shawnee, Kan., has challenged students, families and friends to help the mission during the holiday season. They collect canned food items prior to Thanksgiving to assist the mission with its upcoming winter food needs. In 2014 they collected 1,189 pounds of canned food, 150 pounds more than in 2013.
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 16 to the Mission Food Warehouse/Distribution Center at 1020 E. 10th Street, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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. 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. Then deliver them by December 19 to their Community Assistance Center, 1700 E. 8th Street, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
City Union Mission needs 550 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.
Family Promise of the Northland
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 familypromisenorthland.org.
Kansas City Rescue Mission
Kansas City Rescue Mission (KCRM) invites the community to share their gratitude with our neighbors in need this Thanksgiving!
“As the need in our community increases steadily, we feel a responsibility to respond,” states Executive Director Joe Colaizzi. “In addition to the hundreds of men we serve each November in our dining hall, we want to reach out to those in need who simply can’t get to us for help. This outreach allows us to extend the ministry of KCRM right to people’s doorsteps.”
On Nov. 20 and 21, KCRM and its volunteers will team up with local churches to assemble and deliver 200 food boxes to struggling families living in poverty. Each box contains the ingredients for an abundant Thanksgiving dinner with plenty of leftovers. Then, Thanksgiving morning, KCRM volunteers will deliver 500 piping-hot Thanksgiving dinners to the homes of elderly, disabled and often isolated individuals who would otherwise go without. With each box and meal, we’ll include a handmade card that shares the message of the love of God.
From Nov. 21 through 29, nine churches and other groups will provide special dinners at the KCRM Men’s Center during their nine-day Celebration of Thanks! Then on Thanksgiving Day, KCRM is planning to serve a traditional Thanksgiving feast at lunch and dinner.
Can you help provide food for their Thanksgiving meals? Here’s a list of needed items: turkeys, hams, Stove Top-type stuffing mix, boxed instant potatoes, packaged gravy mix, canned corn, canned green beans, canned fruit, canned cranberry sauce, canned yams or sweet potatoes, brown sugar, 1-lb. butter in tubs or sticks, cake mixes, canned frosting, Bisquick, brown and serve rolls, pumpkin and fruit pies: pre-baked, and Jello.
“We are privileged to extend our reach out into the community during the holidays ,” said volunteer coordinator Kristen Ray. “Thanks to our generous donors and volunteers, we have an opportunity to really make a difference in people’s lives!”
For more information, to donate or volunteer, contact Kristen at email@example.com, visit kcrma.org or call 816-421-7643.
The Salvation Army’s 2015 Red Kettle Campaign in Kansas City kicks off Friday, Nov. 6, 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.
2015 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.
Locations to serve include:
- 6111 East 129th St., Grandview, MO – 816-966-8300
- 14700 East Truman Rd., Independence, MO – 816-252-3200
- 6723 State Avenue, Kansas City, KS – 913-232-5400
- 420 East Santa Fe, Olathe, KS – 913-782-3640
- 3013 East 9th St., Kansas City, MO – 816-483-8484
- 6618 East Truman Rd., Kansas City, MO – 816-241-6485
- 5306 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, MO – 816-452-5663
- 500 West 39th St., Kansas City, MO – 816-753-6040
The Salvation Army is also seeking volunteers for other programs including Project Warmth and Community Care Visitation. You can volunteer for these programs by calling Jane Sander at 816-968-0396.
Anyone wishing to donate by credit card may call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or go to www.salarmymokan.org or donate online at www.onlineredkettle.org. Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 412577, Kansas City, MO 64141.
Uplift Organization, Inc.
The Uplift Organization is now in their 25th year of service to the homeless, and serves approximately 600 people per week. Uplift volunteers are a diverse group of individuals united by the common desire to show care for, and serve individuals in need. Uplift’s mission: “We, who acknowledge God’s providence and fidelity to his people, especially those in poverty, do dedicate our efforts toward the support of those who are homeless. Our goal is to deliver to the homeless those basic human needs, care and compassion that are not usually received from other organizations.”
The organization’s purpose is simple: deliver hot food, basic clothing, hygiene and miscellaneous supplies to the homeless individuals living under highway bridges, in abandoned buildings, camped along wooded areas following the Missouri River, and various other areas of our city. They operate out of a modest distribution center located at 1516 Prospect, Kansas City, Missouri 64127.
Their Sprinter delivery vehicles are the work horse of the operation and are a familiar sight on the streets of Kansas City each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. The outreach support they provide carries on due to the generosity of the Kansas City community.
“We do not receive State or Federal funding,” stated Kathy Dean with the organization. “We are 100 percent volunteer. From our board of directors and leadership team to the individuals coming to experience Uplift for the first time, we have no paid staff.”
Dean says there are several ways you can contribute to help Uplift’s cause:
- Schedule a time to deliver food on the trucks by contacting Volunteer Coordinator, Jo Bustamante at 816-589-2452.
- Become a cook: prepare meals by contacting Cook Coordinator, Margo Yerk at 816-516-1304.
- Volunteer on the second Saturday of the month to help clean and sort donations from 9 am – 12 am. Although making a reservation is not necessary, larger groups are encouraged to contact us with the anticipated size of your group.
- Donate your gently used items. Visit uplift.org for needs.
- Contribute financially: Your donations go directly to funding their daily operations and supplies that they do not receive from the community.
For information call 816-241-0060, or visit uplift.org
–compiled by Dwight Widaman