Community Assistance Council has never been one to “toot its own horn”. We have just worked hard to provide for the needs of the community and help others work towards self-sufficiency. We may have missed opportunities in the past, so we are changing our attitude. This year we are celebrating our 40th birthday! In September, 1976, CAC received its incorporation papers, creating a private, nonprofit organization. We have changed up our logo to reflect our “age” and we are also going to have a birthday party for ourselves! Look for more details in future newsletters.
How CAC Helps
Roberta walked into our satellite pantry last month at First Baptist, requesting food. She had ridden her bike on a cold March morning, commenting that she was so excited to learn of the pantry in her area. In previous months, she was riding her bike to another pantry, ten miles away. First Baptist is less than 2 miles from her home.
As she completed her paperwork, a volunteer noticed that Roberta was using three sets of reading glasses to read the questions. When asked, she explained that she needed new eyeglasses, but couldn’t afford the prescription. She buys reading glasses at the drug store, enough to allow her to read when needed. The volunteer gave her contact information for CAC’s main office, where assistance with eyeglasses could be obtained, through the Kansas City’s Medicine Cabinet. Roberta was ecstatic to know she could get new glasses that actually would help her!
As Roberta began to load the food into her four backpacks and three totebags, for the bicycle ride home, another volunteer offered to drive her home. “This is just icing on the cake,” she smiled. “I am so happy to have found CAC!”
Happenings in the Pantry
In 2015, we continued working to meet the needs of area residents in south Kansas City. We provided $378,264.48 in total services to 961 families in the area. About one third of that total was food services (monthly pantry, emergency food, and holiday food). This continues to be the most sought after service in the area,and our pantry is the only food source available five days a week.
We have been focusing over the past year to provide our clients more choice in food items they select. To accommodate this goal, last fall we changed our procedures allowing families to choose the type of food they want and use.
We are fortunate that Harvesters selected CAC to partner in a program where an AmericCorps volunteer assists us in creating healthy choices in our pantry foods. Please welcome Paisley, who will be working with us through August. We are consciously offering more low-sodium, sugar-free and natural products for distribution. To accomplish that, we have a list of food items that can be donated. Please let us know if you are interested in receiving this list.
In February, we began a pilot program with Harvesters and Hiland Dairy, offering fresh milk to our families. They LOVE it! Based on the results, we are able to continue this program at a low cost, with milk delivered weekly by Hiland Dairy.
We continue to promote monthly donation drives which highlight our need for non-food items that are distributed through our pantry. In March, we focused on toilet paper, April’s focus is on household cleaning items, and May’s focus is on personal hygiene items. These non-food requests are not available with SNAP (food stamp) dollars, but are just as necessary to basic living as bread and milk and are needed all year round.
Our satellite pantry at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, was moved in January to First Baptist Church at Red Bridge and Wornall. This congregation has begun enthusiastic work to offer food distribution to the west side of our service area, every third Saturday of the month. Although we miss our friends at St. Peter’s, we wish them well in their future endeavors.
Lots and lots of thanks go out to the Marketing Department of Avila University. They chose to help us prepare and plant the spring garden for Avila’s Dear Neighbor Day on April 9th. They did an awesome job, and we hope to see some produce in the next 4-6 weeks. Fresh produce is an important commodity in our pantry during warm weather months, and group efforts such as this help us tremendously.
An extra shout out to Grade A Tree Care for providing our mulch and pruning our fruit trees this spring as well!
All our volunteers go through an interview process, to make sure that the opportunities available match their passion. We want to make these tasks rewarding to all.
Meals on Wheels Drivers – We are currently in need of drivers to deliver meals to 10-15 homebound seniors once a week. This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community for only 1-2 hours of time. Must have a valid driver’s license and car insurance and a background check is completed.
Food Pantry Volunteer – We have an opening in our pantry for a volunteer to pack food for clients on Thursdays. This takes about 3 hours of time, and you must be able to lift 20 pounds.
Carol’s Garden – Do you like getting your hands dirty? Volunteers are needed to help keep the garden weeded, and harvested throughout spring, summer and fall. Times are flexible.
Donation Pick Up Drivers – We have certain organizations that donate to us on a regular basis, where pick up is needed monthly. Do you have about 2-3 hours of time once a month to help us bring food and clothing to our office? Must have a valid driver’s license and car insurance.
We always appreciate inkind donations of food and clothing.
Financial Donations are always welcome and encouraged. You can electronically contribute by using the "Donate Now" button below, or send a check directly to our office. All donations are tax-deductible.