Authors Posts by Mary Rupert

Mary Rupert


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The Cathedral of St. Peter, 409 N. 15th St., Kansas City, Kan. is sponsoring the fourth annual Nativity Display from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7. More than 100 unique nativities will be on display. Come and enjoy a magical experience that reflects the true meaning of Christmas. Admission is free. There will also be a bake sale, fundraiser and refreshments. For additional information, contact Terri at

“Scripture Study, Bible Sharing and Reflection, Lectio and Journaling,” a regular weekly series facilitated by pastoral minister, Heather Neds, is offered at Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kan., from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays. This weekly Bible study group is based on the upcoming scripture readings from the Common Lectionary. There will be time for reflection, sharing and journaling. Call 913-906-8990 to register.

Open Door Baptist Church, 3033 N. 103rd Terrace, is holding a raggedy doll ministry Christmas project workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, Dec. 2, in Room 128. No sewing experience is necessary to make a doll. For information on materials to bring, contact Open Door, 913-334-7777.

Parkway Baptist Church, 12320 Parallel Parkway, is planning a Community Blood Center blood drive from 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 15 in the church’s classroom area. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 816-753-4040 or visit

Persons of all Christian traditions are invited to participate in Taizé prayer on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in Annunciation Chapel on the campus of the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 4200 S. 4th Street, Leavenworth, Kan. Taizé prayer is a meditative, candlelit service that includes simple chants sung repeatedly, silence, and prayers of praise and intercession. These prayer services emerged from an ecumenical community of monks in Taizé, France. For more information, visit or call 913-680-2342.

Stony Point Christian Church,
149 S. 78th St., is planning an all-church Thanksgiving dinner at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, in the Cole Activity Center. Families will bring a side dish or dessert. Stony Point also is planning “The Sweet Memories of Christmas Program and Tasting Party” at 6 p.m. Dec. 14. There will be songs, readings, musical numbers or other performances.

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by Mary Rupert

An anonymous donor has stepped up to keep a food pantry running in western Kansas City, Kan.

Janice Witt, the CEO of the Reola Grant Civitan Center food pantry, said she heard on Monday from a donor, who wants to remain anonymous, that he and his company would fund the food pantry.

He is not a resident of Wyandotte County but lives somewhere in the region, she added, and saw the story about the food pantry on the news. He researched the situation and decided to get involved.

“He said this was a God thing, and he was supposed to step in and make this right,” Witt said. “He won’t take any credit.”

She had not previously met him or heard of him or his organization, she added. He wanted to make sure people in need have a Thanksgiving meal, she added.

Witt said the Reola Grant food pantry efforts are no longer associated with CrossRoads Family Church, and that there has been a change in the food pantry’s temporary location, to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge at 7846 Leavenworth Road.

Now the food pantry will reopen as a by-appointment-only indoor food pantry at the FOP Lodge, Witt said. There will not be any mobile trucks with drive-through food giveaways there. The Grant food pantry no longer is participating in the mobile giveaway program after the last time, when traffic problems were cited as a reason for stopping deliveries. The Reola Grant Center and mobile food pantry had been helping 2,000 families a month previously.

Those who are in need may call the food pantry number at 913-948-4040, Witt said. Currently, it is restocking, she said. While it doesn’t have enough to feed the greedy, it will feed the needy, she added.

The number of donors now is multiplying for the Grant food pantry.

The FOP stepped forward to offer its lodge building as a temporary food pantry, she said.

“The FOP has been phenomenal,” Witt said. They were contacted by several members of the community and asked to help, she added. That location now has been certified by Harvesters to have an indoor food pantry, she said.

Also offering to help was the Delaware Masonic Lodge, with a “wonderful” offer, she said. The FOP site was selected because of costs associated with operating the other building.

“Both of those places made an effort to ensure we would be back up and running by Christmas,” Witt said.

Another group from Lenexa, Kan., will be donating some turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday, she said.

Now the Reola Grant Civitan Center needs canned goods donations and is welcoming them for the indoor food pantry, she said.

“I’m just so overwhelmed with the honesty and kindness in people’s hearts,” Witt said. “You think you’re in a battle by yourself, alone and no one cares. Then out of the blue comes this tiny little light. I’m so blinded by the teeny little light in the darkness.”

Witt said the Reola Grant Civitan food pantry is still looking for a permanent location.

She said it will continue to have a thrift room, with clothing, to operate when they get the food pantry back up and running.

Witt said the new face of hunger here is that people in all areas of the community are facing need. Some of the old ideas are incorrect about where the needs are, she added.

She cited an example of a family from the western area who were doing well until they were hit by an illness, and their insurance costs skyrocketed.

Some are not used to making their food stretch.

“When the middle class go to poor, they don’t know how to function there,” Witt said.

She said she is trying to help people manage their food appropriately.

Some families and individuals, she added, currently are faced with a horrible choice between heat and food.

From 64 to 69 percent of Wyandotte County’s population lives in poverty, she said. While some of the existing food programs serve predominantly minorities in the eastern portion of the community, the reality is that many more people are needy throughout the county, of all races, she said.

She said the face of hunger has been manipulated to appear a certain way. In Wyandotte County, it is actually white, middle class, a family with two children, with people who have worked in the past year, she said. They may have a decent car. Their children receive free or reduced lunches in school. For whatever reason, they do not feel safe going to the eastern side of the city to receive a free meal, she said.

She said she wanted to have a food pantry in the Unified Government Commission 5th district because she was not aware of much assistance there, while there was already assistance in some other parts of the community.

In former days, the western part of the county and city was an agricultural area, and the needy could glean the fields after the harvest for leftover produce, Witt said. Now, with the changing nature of the area, and the institutionalization of gleaning fields by organizations that distribute food, that isn’t possible for individuals who are needy, she said.

There are four Civitan groups currently in the area, including the Civitan SOCHI group, the Heartland Helpers Civitan, Civitan Club Dotte and Civitan Orchids. SOCHI, Heartland and Dotte are the supporters of the Reola Grant Civitan Center. Kathy Godell is the president-elect of the Civitan SOCHI. Andrea Behrman is the president of the Heartland Helpers Civitan. Ron Witt is the current president of Civitan Club Dotte.

Together, the Witts have provided much of the funding for the Reola Grant Center in the past.

Witt said Civitan also is continuing its Toys for Tots program this year, Dec. 9-10 at the George Meyn Center at Wyandotte County Park, Bonner Springs. More than 200 families are already registered for the program, she said. The signup period already has passed, she added.

The Harvesters mobile food truck now is traveling to the KCKCC-TEC location, the former Walmart store at 65th and State Avenue, on some Saturdays to give away fresh produce to the needy, in an effort that is coordinated by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. The food truck reportedly ran out of food there on its first day.

The Grant food pantry no longer is associated with that mobile food truck effort, Witt added. Future mobile food distributions for KCKCC-TEC are expected to be at 1 p.m. Dec. 13 and Dec. 20 at 65th and State.

by Mary Rupert

Cluster mailboxes, an idea that has been proposed to make the postal service more efficient, have found their way to the Highland Crest and Cathedral neighborhoods, according to a Kansas City, Kan., resident.

Joan Spero, a Kansas City, Kan., resident who has served as a district liaison with the National Association of Letter Carriers and Auxiliary, appeared before a Unified Government Committee on Monday night to talk about cluster mailboxes.

Spero said one group of cluster mailboxes is about four blocks from her residence. She expressed her belief that house-to-house mail delivery is a right of postal customers.

She said it is up to the postal customer, part of the Postal Operations Manual, whether or not his mail is delivered to his house or to a cluster mailbox. She said people who live in a neighborhood have to be asked if they want to have cluster boxes before they are installed.

Spero said she was concerned about safety and health of residents, especially elderly residents, who might have to walk a distance to get their mail. Some are not physically able to walk that distance, she said. Also, she said she was concerned about theft from cluster mailbox break-ins. There has already been a theft ring involving cluster mailboxes in Johnson County, she said, citing a news article.

In August, she said, a switch was made to cluster boxes for 28 homes in the Highland Crest area, with the reason given that a mail carrier was bitten by a dog. Spero said she had talked with the letter carrier and discovered that it was a slight injury, it did not break the skin, the letter carrier received a Band-Aid and returned to work the next day. There haven’t been serious dog bites to carriers in the Kansas City, Kan., area for more than 20 years, she said.

“We would like you to let your constituents know what their rights are,” Spero told the commissioners.

She also said residents wrote to U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder to see what they could do about it.

The postal service spokeswoman for this area, Stacy St. John, was contacted for a response and said that she had not heard what was said at the meeting, and so she could not comment on it.

Using cluster boxes is part of postal reform nationwide because it is the most efficient way to serve customers, she said.

It was part of a postal reform bill that has not been approved by Congress. At this time, district managers approve delivery mode changes, St. John said. There is no movement for customers to involuntarily change their mode of delivery. If customers wanted to change to cluster boxes, the postal service would take that into consideration, she said.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email