Roadblocks pop up in organization’s effort to feed the hungry

Cones had been set up along Parallel Parkway, in this file photo from August, to direct traffic near a mobile food pantry site on Saturdays on Parallel Parkway. (File photo)
Cones had been set up along Parallel Parkway, in this file photo from August, to direct traffic near a mobile food pantry site on Saturdays on Parallel Parkway. (File photo)

A Civitan Club program to feed the hungry at CrossRoads Family Church, 8822 Parallel Parkway, is in jeopardy as it has been told it needs to work with the Unified Government to handle the traffic there.

Janice Witt, the Civitan Club president who is working with this mobile food truck program, said her program had done everything that the local government officers had requested of it, including purchasing cones to funnel traffic, but recently, it was told it could not receive more food deliveries. She said the club sponsoring the pantry had worked with authorities and had placed traffic cones where officers told them to place them.

She said she has every intention of holding the mobile food truck distribution this Saturday at the church, and the volunteers will be there, but that the Unified Government has been talking to Harvesters and asking them not to send the food truck there.

Witt said traffic was not very heavy on Saturdays on Parallel Parkway, and that the cones they were directed to place on Parallel did not have that much effect on traffic.

Witt said there has been an officer present and volunteers to direct traffic on a side street located near the church, where cars are parking while they wait for the food distribution. She said there have been no incidents, no tickets and no altercations there. She has previously been working with the sheriff on this project, and there also have been police officers present.

“The problem is we are not the face of hunger in this town, and Wyandotte County wants to keep it that way,” Witt said.

There are some persons who do not want people to think there could be people who are hungry west of I-635, but there are needy people here, she said.

About 20 persons who live close to the church in surrounding neighborhoods are among the people who go to the mobile food pantry to receive food, and of the rest of the people, the majority of them are in the western Kansas City, Kan., or the western Wyandotte County area, she said.

Witt said that the mobile food program at the church has a contract with Harvesters that requires them to bring the mobile food truck there. She said the volunteers will be there Saturday and they expected the food truck to arrive, but they really do not know whether it will be there. They have no way of feeding 1,000 people, though, without the food truck, she said.

She added that since receiving the letter, she had tried to contact the UG about working with them on this, but had not been able to reach anyone.

Witt said about 2,100 people a month are being served by the mobile food pantry at the church site, on the second and third Saturdays, and between 400 to 500 people are served at the food pantry inside the church building, which has scheduled days, Monday and Wednesday, that it is open by appointment. There is also clothing assistance at the church.

The church mobile site now is supplying 20 percent of Harvesters’ food that is designated for Wyandotte County. Three in 10 children in Wyandotte County are considered “food insecure,” meaning they don’t know whether they will have enough to eat today.

Kristen Golden is a resident of the nearby Indian Woods subdivision where the cars are parked along the street. She also is a volunteer with the mobile food pantry at the church.

She said only two or three of the neighbors are against cars parking on the street, while the general feeling in the neighborhood is positive.

She said once the cars are parked on the street, there is no movement, no one getting out of the cars and no loud music. She said it does not block traffic or the intersection. There are volunteer parking attendants.

Golden noted the neighbors who are complaining don’t have any problems with cars coming into the neighborhood and parking on the streets to go to garage sales.

She said that the people coming to receive free food are from that neighborhood as well as from western Kansas City, Kan., Piper, Bonner Springs and Edwardsville. A few neighbors seem to want to kick their neighbors out of the neighborhood, she said.

“The whole thing is just sad,” she said.

Golden said she started attending the CrossRoads church, the former Immanuel Baptist Church, because she saw the signs and cars for this project, and decided she wanted to help volunteer to feed the community. That was the reason she joined the church, she said.

“The church was all about feeding the community, and this was where I want to serve,” she said.

About 90 percent of the congregation is involved in this outreach mobile food pantry project as volunteers, she added.

Witt is asking people to contact the mayor’s office or their commissioner’s office, and Harvesters, to ask that this food distribution be allowed to continue at the church. She has set up a website at this web address.

There has been no response yet to requests made to two persons for a comment.

Cars were parked along one side of the street in this Indian Woods subdivision near a church that is holding a mobile food pantry on Saturdays, in this file photo from August. There were persons assigned to direct traffic. (File photo)
Cars were parked along one side of the street in this Indian Woods subdivision near a church that is holding a mobile food pantry on Saturdays, in this file photo from August. There were persons assigned to direct traffic. (File photo)

An excerpt from a letter Janice Witt received about the mobile food pantry program Civitan Club sponsors at the CrossRoads church.
An excerpt from a letter Janice Witt received about the mobile food pantry program Civitan Club sponsors at the CrossRoads church.

Silver Harvest Banquet to be held Nov. 15

The Silver Harvest Banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Upper Jewell Building at Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Ave.

The event, sponsored by The African American Student Union, will include a dinner and recognition of individuals who demonstrate a commitment to young people.

The theme of the event is “Honoring Our Stars: The Sky is the Limit.”

Tickets are still available for the Silver Harvest Banquet. Tickets are $20 or $10 with a current KCKCC student ID and are on sale through Nov. 12.

After the dinner portion of the event, individuals will be recognized with the Richard T. Lee Award as well as the Rising Star Award, which is given to a KCKCC faculty or staff member. The Richard T. Lee award is named after former Dean of Student Services Richard Lee. He was also a former TAASU advisor who demonstrated a commitment to young people.

Last year’s honorees included Rosette Scover, owner of Rosie’s Dance Academy in Kansas City, Kan.; Commissioner Tarence Maddox, Unified Government commissioner and founder of the Books Not Bars Mentor Program; Rev. Walza Starr II, pastor of Faith City Christian Church, one of the fastest growing churches in Wyandotte County; the Rev. Jarvis Collier, pastor of Pleasant Green Baptist Church, author and community developer; and Rashanda Rhodes, college and career coordinator at Schlagle High School.

The theme of this year’s banquet is “Honoring Our Stars: The Sky is the Limit” and the featured speaker will be Judge Tim Dupree, a former student at KCKCC.

For more information on the Silver Harvest Banquet or to purchase tickets, contact Jeremiah McCluney at jmccluney@kckcc.edu or call 913-288-7602.
– Story from Kelly Rogge, KCKCC

Assistance offered with health care enrollment process

The Rosedale Development Association is offering an assistance program for health care enrollment.

The assistance will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.

Also, persons may make an appointment during the Rosedale Business Association’s business hours.

The Rosedale offices are at 1403 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kan.

Certified application counselors will be on hand to assist with enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, created under the Affordable Care Act.

They will help with questions about enrollment and assist residents in getting enrolled or re-enrolled for health care coverage. Tax credits or monthly payment aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information, email alissa@rosedale.org or call 913-677-5097.