It’s a breezy, early morning at the Blue Springs Community Services League office, just a few blocks south of downtown Blue Springs.

Sharon Wingate is busy in a back room, loading supplies into a grocery bag for a local resident in need of some help, love and support.

This person has come to the right place.

Wingate is the new site manager in Blue Springs, replacing Melodie Chrisman, who has given so much to Eastern Jackson County for more than a decade.

Wingate knows she has some big shoes to fill, and Chrisman knows the CSL has found the perfect replacement.

“She has so much compassion for those in need,” Chrisman said. “She has been with us three years as a development assistant so this is a new adventure for her. She loves Blue Springs just like I do.”

Chrisman is still involved with CSL, as the senior site manager for Blue Springs, Independence, Oak Grove and Buckner.

“I still oversee our eastern offices so we will work closely together,” Chrisman added, “to assure our residents continue to get all the services we offer to help them get back on their feet.”

And those services are varied, including helping neighbors improve their household income, their net worth, credit scores and overall self sufficiency by providing assistance in counseling on a wide variety of issues.

Data provided by www.cslcares.org show that families enrolled in CSL programs are four times more likely to establish some type of financial stability through income support, financial coaching, employment services and housing counseling than someone who tries to make it on their own.

It’s also a nice, warm retreat if you just need a hug or a welcoming smile.

“We like hugs,” Wingate said, as she placed the bag of goodies on a counter filled with enough bagels, doughnuts and loaves of bread to fill a community-worth of pantries.

“We never know what we might get,” said Wingate, who worked on the development side of CSL in Independence before taking over for Chrisman, “so, when folks in need come in, we tell them, “Take what you need.’ As you can see, we have an abundance of some items right now.”

Wingate, who is active in her local church, Pointe of Hope on North Missouri 7, is a perfect fit in her new CSL role.

“I have never really interacted with the people who come in for help,” she explained, as she was more on the business side of the CSL. “But I love it – I really, really love it. To see a smile on the face of someone who came into this office with real tears in their eyes, to know you have made a small difference in their life, is very special to me.

“And that’s what we’re all about. We can’t fix all the problems in the world, but it’s important for people to know that even in an affluent city like Blue Springs, there are people who need help. And we are here for them.”

• The Blue Springs Community Service League, at 200 SW 10th St., is open Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. The phone number is 816-229-0033. Donations of food and clothing are always appreciated and encouraged.