Last week, Mattie Rhodes Center (MRC) provided 100 Thanksgiving meals to families in need. The center began providing emergency food assistance to families weekly during the pandemic, and this week, the food will include a prepared holiday themed meal.
MRC staff were able to nominate a family in need of extra help during the holidays to receive a free meal. Meals were given to families between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Northeast Mattie Rhodes Center at 148 North Topping Ave.
“The weekly food distribution has become a critical lifeline for many of our children and community members here in the Northeast. With job uncertainties a reality for families due to COVID-19, we are so grateful to be able to provide a special holiday meal for them during this stressful time,” said Alea Surender, Emergency Assistance Coordinator at MRC.
MRC thanked their community sponsors for making these events possible. Capital Federal, Bank of America, Clay County, CARES ACT funding from Clay County, and Jackson County Food Assistance Program provided a number of the meals for families, and the Kansas City Fire Department helped to transport a portion of the meals to MRC’s Clay County office for distribution.
Being located in the Historic Northeast neighborhood for over ten years, MRC staff is acutely aware of the resource disparities that exist in certain areas of Kansas City, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. One in three residents in the neighborhoods MRC serves live below the poverty level and for many families, this means they would otherwise go without a special meal for the holidays.
Families picking up food were also offered warm clothing for children and other resources. Bilingual Community Resource Coordinator Molly Manske greeted familiar faces and inquired about children and family members. Grant and Compliance Coordinator Cynthia Wilson Conner and Youth Development Coordinator Diego Barrios were joined by volunteers to distribute the meals.
Founded in 1894, Mattie Rhodes Center seeks to enrich the lives of individuals, families, and communities in a respectful, multicultural environment. The agency provides youth services, community support, cultural arts and family services and support.