Nora awakens to a bead of sweat running down her face. She arose to the spring heat wave, and her air conditioner is off as it is too costly to operate. This past month has been rough. Incidental expenses have cropped up, including a $55 flat tire that also caused her to miss a job interview. There’s some comfort in knowing that she has another interview scheduled in two days and it looks promising. She sends her children off to school, and washes the breakfast dishes, grateful she had food to give them. She takes a quick look in the bathroom closet and realizes that her body wash is very low, and the shampoo bottle was thrown out 3 days ago. She uses the end of her deodorant and sets off for the Serve and Lift Center food pantry. She smiles as she remembers the warm welcome when she first arrived at the pantry from the volunteer and the staff. The last 3 months, this monthly trip has been part of her routine. She is so grateful for this help…

Washing her hair with just water is not cutting it and she wishes she were more presentable. She feels unkempt and uncomfortable as she worries about the upcoming interview. Greeted with a warm smile at the pantry Nora awaits her turn. She is striving to be optimistic about receiving some hygiene, last month they had very little to offer. Stress sweat is the worse and she feels self-conscious. Relax she says to herself, but it seems her body is not listening.

The pantry staff member asks, Do you need any hygiene items? Nora replies with a hopeful “Yes!” The hygiene items are available: she receives … Shampoo, Body Wash, deodorant, and even toilet paper – oh YES! A sense of relief came over her as the order was being filled, and a tear rolled down her cheek. Her humble prayer was being answered.

She eagerly went to the job interview, feeling presentable and filled with a new sense of confidence. Nora got the job.

This scenario demonstrates the Mission and Vision of Catholic Charities, helping people move to a better life and lifting people in need to the dignity of self-reliance. Currently we offer food/hygiene from 3 locations:  our Welcome Center at 4001 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Suite 250, KCMO in an emergency amount, and monthly allotments at the SKC Serve and Lift Center at 8001 Longview Rd., and our NW Distribution Center located in Cameron, MO. The NW Distribution serves 7 locations in Northwest MO.  Providing food is the primary focus, but the dignity provided by offering hygiene is invaluable.

Please prayerfully consider hosting a neighborhood food drive and/or hygiene drive or start one in your local parish or place of employment. For inquiries on drives, please contact Rachel Hansen, Parish Outreach Manager or Linda Hopkins, Volunteer Manager

By, Linda Hopkins, Volunteer Manager at Catholic Charities of Kansas City- St. Joseph

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