The excitement is hard to contain! Can you feel it?
In tackling hunger, there are many noticeable factors: location, accessibility, and most importantly, the needs of the community. With food insecurity on the rise, understanding and meeting the needs of our community – whether it is food, toiletries, or other day to day necessities – is fundamental. The pandemic has increased the number of families in need, and the rural areas of our service area do not receive the same amount of support as the KC and St. Joseph metro areas. Therefore, Catholic Charites of Kansas City- St. Joseph (CCKCSJ) has launched Serve & Lift Centers in Cameron and South KC. CCKCSJ will begin mobile food pantry outreach from our Cameron location beginning May 23.
According to Blake Haynes, of Second Harvest Food Bank, between Northwest Missouri and Northwest Kansas, “Buchanan County has the third highest percentage of the population [in 2021] that is food insecure at 16.5% in their 19-county service area.” They also had a projected childhood food insecurity rate [August 2020] of 26.4%”. Compared to 2018, the overall rate is up 2.5%, and for children, projected to increase by 9.2%.
Throughout the northern portion of our 27-county service area, our Cameron food distribution center provides families experiencing food insecurity much needed relief. The food distribution center offers proteins, fruits, vegetables, boxed and canned meals as well as basic hygiene items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap. With just proof of an I.D. and residency, the food distribution center is available to everyone in need and it provides families enough food to last 30 days.
Catholic Charities online food pantry is based on a client-choice model, where families may choose their own food from available nutritious selections, and meet their own taste preferences, cultural dishes, and better manage chronic medical conditions that respond to a particular diet. This gift is truly transformative to our agency and those we serve. Anissa Parra-Grooms, Serve and Lift Center Food Pantry Program Manager, said “this shopping experience allows families to select from our online pantry, simply like they are placing any online order. They select what they need and check out.” Parra-Grooms will then call the family and confirm the pick-up location and time.
Using the Cameron Serve & Lift Center as a hub, we are honored to partner with several parishes to extend our reach to the NE and NW areas of our service area 1-2 days a week with our new van. The five parishes are: Mary Immaculate in Gallatin, St. Patrick’s and St. Charles Place in St. Joseph, Blessed Sacrament in Bethany, St. Patrick’s Mission in Forest City, and St. Joseph in Trenton. This service removes transportation as a barrier for families trying to access food. “With the van and the capacity it is able to hold, it will allow us to serve clients who walkup, while out at parishes and community centers. In anticipation for that, we prepare some extra bags and boxes.” Parra-Grooms said. She also explains we will not offer any direct delivery. Whether it is a window of time or a structured event, CCKCSJ will inform the community of the location, so families can set up appointments and CCKCSJ can be prepared for who may come.
Our Cameron Distribution Center and mobile outreach are just two of many examples of our mission of helping people move to a better life through hope-filled care, services, and advocacy- and calling those of goodwill to join us. We are honored to serve families in these communities, and to have the opportunity to reach even more families who need the assistance our programs can offer.
Our Northern Serve and Lift Center is located at 417 Northland Drive, Cameron, MO 64429. To shop online or to view our mobile outreach calendar for locations visit: serveandliftcenter.org For more information or questions, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at: 816-608-8794.