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MLM Volunteers Learn While Helping Harvesters’ Food Effort

Volunteers at the recent MLM Night at Harvesters included (from left) Katrina Abella, RN, Kansas City; Sarah Wright, RN, Kansas City; Troy Branch, Lee’s Summit; DeAndre Thomas, Blue Springs; Ahvy Whiteside, RN, Olathe; and Jennifer Branch, RN, Lee’s Summit. The nurses represented teams from Kansas University Medical Center and North Kansas City Hospital.

Nearly 100 volunteers from throughout Greater Kansas City helped two area organizations with food for the area’s needy during a special event Wednesday, March 29.

“Metro Lutheran Ministry Night at Harvesters” took volunteers to Harvesters Food Bank at 3801 Topping Ave., Kansas City. While there, they spent almost three hours learning about the organizations and helping sort food for delivery to the area’s needy families and individuals.

‘I grew up as one of the statistics Harvesters spoke of,” noted Ahvy Whiteside, now a registered nurse at the Kansas University Medical Center and an Olathe resident. “I am so happy to be on the other side where I can give something back. And the fact that we can supply healthy food these days pleases the nurse in me.”

Another volunteer, Rose Rolifson, 10, of Overland Park, even presented MLM with a cash donation.

Coordinated by MLM, the volunteers included teams from KU Medical Center, North Kansas City Hospital, Cerner Corporation and other organizations. Several brought family members and their homes ranged from Blue Springs to Lee’s Summit, Lenexa, Olathe and North Kansas City.

The event was part of MLM’s “Munch Madness,” a month-long food- and fund-raising effort for the organization’s three food pantries, as well as raising awareness about the increasing food-related needs in the community. The effort raised more than $70,000 and was fueled by two matching gifts from Blessings Abound Thrift Store in Overland Park and the Frederick and Louise Hartwig Family Fund.

Before their work, volunteers also learned about the decades of collaboration by MLM and Harvesters, which is actually one of several organizations founded by MLM. Today, Harvesters extends into a 16-county service area and they work with 620 partner agencies to feed more than 140,000 people a month.

MLM operates almost exclusively on contributions, grants and individual donations to serve residents of Greater Kansas City at six locations in Clay, Jackson and Wyandotte counties. Programs include food, utility and rent assistance, job skills and readiness training, permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals with disabilities, Saturday hot breakfast programs, minor home repair for low income seniors, personal finance programs and more.

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