By Jessica Gant

By Jessica Gant

Offering emergency food to families who come to the Welcome Center has an immediate calming effect.

Click here to read the entire January 2021 newsletter

The past year has been a record year for many reasons.

People are experiencing poverty and food insecurity at rates significantly higher than in years prior, especially in this time of the coronavirus. To better understand these rates, we need to understand food insecurity and poverty at a base level.

Food insecurity, according to the USDA, is when a household-level has limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Poverty is the difference between a family’s income and their threshold as determined by the government. These levels change each based on inflation and are restructured by the federal government.

For 2020, Harvesters reported that more than 387,000 people are at risk of going hungry in the Kansas City Metro area, one in five being children. This is 85,000 more people than were measured pre-pandemic.

Between October and November 2020 alone, Harvesters distributed close to seven million pounds of food in both October and November.

When you add that seven million to the 54 million pounds of food the agency has distributed since the beginning of the pandemic, it is a larger sum than what was distributed through the entirety of 2019.

Last year, the Welcome Center had the opportunity to meet the needs of our community in new ways and we learned a lot along the way. We immediately saw the pressing need for food, rent and utility assistance, and a focus on rural communities where resources are limited.

Moving into this next year, Catholic Charities plans to double down on our efforts to address these needs. Here are some statistics to put this vision into focus:

  • In December 2020, 44% of those who walked in stated they did not know where their next meal would come from.
  • In that same month, 28% were seeking assistance due to the effects of the pandemic.
  • Alongside other community agencies, we helped provide over 2,021 households emergency food supplies.
  • We also provided 250,000 in CARES money to those in need of emergency assistance, primarily focusing on those in rural communities.
  • Year-to-year, we typically distribute around $1 million in emergency assistance to the community. However, we provide $1.2 million between October and December 2020 alone.

The need is great, but we believe the generosity and hope of our donors and community is greater. We are excited about plans for the future of the agency and how the Welcome Center will grow within it. Keep a lookout for exciting updates soon to come!

For more information, please contact Jessica Gant at or 816-882-4781.

Pin It on Pinterest