Staffers at the Mattie Rhodes Center at 148 North Topping distributed over 300 meals on Friday, May 29, donated by Operation BBQ Relief & Kansas City Fire Department and made by The Classic Cup through AT&T financial support.
Operation BBQ Relief has been providing meals to first responders like the Kansas City Fire Department, to help them throughout the pandemic. Although meals are usually distributed to firefighters during their shifts, the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department (KCFD) requested to have those meals donated to the Mattie Rhodes Center to serve those in need. With a financial donation from AT&T Kansas City, the plan was able to go through.
KCFD Fire Inspector, Phil Ferrara said that Operation BBQ Relief isn’t the only organization that has helped serve firefighters, so he thought it would be beneficial to donate the meals to Mattie Rhodes instead. Ferrara reached out to Sharon Green, head of marketing and development for Operation BBQ Relief to request that the means be passed on to Mattie Rhodes.
“Sharon Green was like ‘I have something even better. I’ll give you those meals.’ She got us in contact with The Classic Cup and informed us that they could make 400 meals.” said Ferara.
Community members were able to do drive-thru or walk-up in order to receive their meal.
Along with the donated meals, Truman Medical Centers also donated fresh fruit. In addition, hygiene kits and information about youth programs and counseling services offered by Mattie Rhodes were also handed out.
Youth Development Coordinator Alea Surrender said that she hopes this type of assistance can be repeated again. “This is all from the fire department who have donated these to us and I’m hoping that if they have the opportunity to do it again, we will. We have a good turnout but it depends on them because there’s other nonprofits organizations to which they can donate to.” said Surrender.
Other forms of assistance is available to current Mattie Rhodes participants such as food, rent, and utility assistance. CEO of Mattie Rhodes John Fierro, said that the needs of the community are top priority. “As long as the community has a need for food assistance, we will meet that need. Everything we do is in response to the needs of the community” said Fierro.
When asked whether restrictions due to COVID-19 would be eased, Fierro said that the
non-profit would adhere to the city requirements.
“Mayor Lucas announced yesterday that for essential businesses, the occupancy can go up to 50% is my understanding. That is some good news because our staff, particularly our youth development, have been planning summer camps,” said Fierro. “We know a lot of families need places for kids to go but we also want to be careful not to jeopardize anybody’s health or safety by opening up the building to hundreds of kids. Having a greater occupancy requirement is going to allow us to serve more children, so that’s the plan moving forward.”