The Community Services League wants those in need to know help is available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Independence office on Noland Road served 798 families last week, including one day on which 164 families in need received food supplies.
“Let me put that in context,” Community Services League CEO and President Doug Cowan said Monday, “That weekly total is more than we usually serve in a month.”
“And the daily total is close to the number of families we feed during a holiday week. This is unlike anything we have ever experienced, and it is so important for people in need to know –we are here for you.”
“We have warehouses full of food. I was so concerned when I saw the new report last week that 3.2 million people have lost their jobs – people are suffering, they don’t know where to turn – and we are here.”
Cowan relayed countless stories of jobless individuals coming to the CSL offices to volunteer because they have no job to go to.
“We have health-care providers who might make one, two or more stops a day taking food to those who can’t leave their house. We had an individual who took boxes of food to families who could only come here by the bus, and that would have been so difficult to get the boxes of food home.”
“There have been some remarkable tales of kindness and friendship during this first week of the quarantine, and I am sure we will see more. Something like this oftentimes brings out the best in everyone and that is what we are seeing at our offices.”
Melodie Chrisman, the vice president of income support and site manager at Blue Springs, Oak Grove, Grain Valley and Buckner, agreed with Cowan.
“We’re here for you!” she exclaimed. “All you need to do is come with a proof of ID and your address, and we will help. We have had people from as far away as Lee’s Summit and Grandview and we are not going to turn anyone away in need of food.”
While the doors to all locations are closed, each family that comes to the office will receive as much as it might need for at least a week.
“We will ask how people are in the family and give them the staples they will need to survive food wise for a week,” Chrisman said. “We even have some frozen food items and eggs and milk.”
“Everything is pre-boxed, and our volunteers bring it out to their car.”
While all 250 “full-time” CSL volunteers have been sent home during the quarantine, Chrisman said the offices are getting by on skeleton full-time staffs and volunteers from the city, police departments and friends of the CSL.
“We have around 250 volunteers – many of whom are retired and that age where they are most susceptible to the virus – and we have thanked them for their service and asked them to stay home until this is all over,” Cowan said.
“We will get by, and we will find a way to keep serving our communities. That’s what we’re all about.”