Annual event clothes KCMO poor and homeless for spring

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An organization known as "Care of Poor People" or COPP is outfitting Kansas City's less fortunate for spring.

People lined up before dawn to take advantage of the group's service.  Some said it's an Easter blessing that they have come to count on.

It's a celebration of another winter survived for Kansas City's homeless and less fortunate.

"They line up for hours at the gate no matter what the weather," said Patty Kenslow, a volunteer.  "I've seen them in the pouring rain, ready to come in with babies in strollers, because they need clothes for their kids, coats and shoes."

Talmig Chen has been here before and needs the extra help again this year, so he lined up early.

"It's a blessing they support us," he told FOX 4 News.  "Some people who need clothes bad can come out and get them."

All of the items given out at the event are donated.  Volunteers work for days to sort and stock mostly spring clothes and other items in every size.

"When you see those kind of people walk in and they get their needs met and its given to them absolutely free, there is no other place you want to be this weekend," Kenslow said.

"We couldn't do it without the community," explained Richard Tripp, the event's organizer.

Organizations and churches from all across the metro pitch in. Then when folks are done with their shopping, they are offered a free meal dubbed "the biggest potluck in Kansas City."

"When you talk about food, I've got more food under that tent then I can possibly give out today," Tripp said.

Tripp is glad to do it, because 30 years ago he was homeless and sleeping under the Broadway Bridge.

"You find out what life is really about once you get down that low," he explained.

So he gives as much as they need or can eat -- no questions asked.

"I don't believe the good Lord wants me to take ID.  He wants me to feed my brothers and sisters," Tripp told FOX 4 News.

And he will continue to organize the annual effort for as long as he can.

"You find out they are not much different then anybody else.  The only difference is they got unlucky and something in their life put them down on the bottom.  Our goal is to keep them alive," he said.

This year's event was named "Stand Your Ground."

With talk of legislation to restrict private citizens from caring for the homeless, Tripp said he feels it's important to hold onto those rights.

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