The Kansas City Royals teamed up with City Union Mission to serve over 250 meals to hungry families Tuesday. Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy shook hands, laughed, and handed out plates heaping with barbecue to guests as they piled into the second floor of the Men’s Center.
For thirteen years, the Royals Charities have been reaching out to the City Union to help feed the community every year around Thanksgiving.
Dennis Chapman, Chief Development Officer at City Union Mission, who has served at the Mission for seventeen years, said he is grateful every year for the generosity of the Royals Charities as well as the city itself.
“Kansas City is a very generous community,” he said. “They have always reached out and taken care of the needs of the poor and homeless, and we have probably 78-percent of all of the homeless base in Kansas City right here at City Union Mission.”
Over the last few years, the event has grown substantially. Chapman said the guests at the Men’s Center love to engage with the Royals players who come and serve, a lot of them reminiscing on the 1985 Championship season.
“The men also on the street know that this is an annualized event,” Chapman added, “and it always helps that there is a player that comes every year. Ian Kennedy also serves with his family once a month at the family shelter, so it’s been good have him here.”
Kennedy himself said helping out at the City Union Mission in the offseason has become part of his routine for his whole family.
“It’s our family routine,” said Kennedy. “We have a lot of fun, know a lot of the cooks, and it’s kind of our family away from family.”
Kennedy said he truly supports the vision of the City Union Mission and encourages everyone to get involved, in any way they can.
“It’s such a great organization,” he said. “It’s not just serving people food, but they’re feeding their souls, too. I encourage a lot of people to look into it, and to go out and help and serve, whether you have funds to donate or not, you can come and serve some people. They need volunteers whenever they can.”
As a player, he said he wants to do whatever he can to make a difference in the lives of those in the community.
“We have such a platform as a baseball player,” he added. “If I can come here and use that platform and brighten someone’s day by just me being me and talking to them, that’s what I’m here to do.