Community responds when food pantry finds itself in need of helping hand

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The tables are turning for a local charity. The Reola Grant Center is used to giving a helping hand. But Tuesday afternoon, it's getting one instead.

The Reola Grant Center has has been helping local needy families for years. Soon it will have a new shed to store food for its food pantry.

Thanks to Classic Buildings, Lowe's, and the Carpenter's Union, the shed, materials, and labor are all donated. The center has hired a local man to do the work, but he had some health issues and couldn't finish the job. Out of money and options, the center turned to the Carpenter's Union for help.

A number of members are stepping up, volunteering their time and skills to get the job done.

"They talk about safety nets and what not, but that doesn't work for the working class," said Janice Witt with the Reola Grant Center. "They make twenty dollars too much to get help, assistance, food stamps, even a little bit of money to buy food. If they come to me and say we need food, I ask for proof that these are their kids and we get them groceries."

Witt said people who require assistance are often looked down upon, but she said that at their core, they're just like everyone else.

"The people who use our services are the most grateful people you'll ever meet. They talk about people misusing a system, these folks don't do that. These are people who don't want to be asking. These are people who are normally the givers. It breaks my heart that they have nowhere to go for the very basics of food," Witt added.

The carpenters said they'll be finished with the shed's drywall later today. The next step is filling the shed with food.

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