LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- They are in every community, but too often forgotten – widows and widowers who are struggling to live daily life alone.
A metro non-profit is stepping in to help with Widow Wednesday. It’s the name of the organization and it describes its mission, which is to dedicate every Wednesday to helping widows and widowers in need.
That help comes in many forms, from offering emotional support to lending an extra hand around their house.
Kathy Lucio is one of those widows. The mother of two is just 36 years old and is now forced to face life without her husband.
“We were married for 10 years and we were in love all 10 years,” she said.
He died three years ago from colon cancer. Now she and her kids have moved from Los Angeles to the greater Kansas City metro hoping for a fresh start.
“We just really needed a change,” she said. “It’s hard to be in the same house, the same city, where your life was, especially because it’s drastically different when you lose someone.”
But coming to a new place where you don't know anyone isn't easy.
“I moved away from my family, and even though it’s a better life for us, that has been a challenge,” she said.
That`s when Jimmy Chouteau swooped in to help.
“It’s raking leaves or we do painting projects and tile projects and all kinds of handyman type work throughout the year,” he said.
Chouteau first saw the need as an insurance agent, where many of his clients were older widows who needed help with small house chores or yard work.
The former missionary and his family soon launched Widow Wednesday.
“That’s how the name came about,” he said. “I took off on Wednesdays and would come out and do handyman projects.”
With the help of volunteers, it's grown over the past six years into a non-profit that now serves more than 250 widows and widowers, young and old, in the metro area.
“Just spending time with them, knowing that, hey somebody cares about you, you’re not forgotten,” Chouteau said of his non-profit’s mission to help widows.
“Having this group here today is just amazing,” said Lucio. “Like the outpouring of people that remember the widows.”
It’s a group that’s helping with small things that, for widows like Lucio, have a big impact.
“For them, this is just a regular afternoon, what they do on Wednesday,” she said. “For me, this would take me days to do what you guys are doing in an hour or two. So it means a lot to me.”
The Chouteau family is expanding their personal mission to a larger movement. May 3rd of this year was designated as the first National Widow's Day.
To learn how you can get involved, visit: http://widowwednesday.com/