Volunteer-driven nonprofit helping adults and kids throughout Kansas City

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This week’s FOX4 Non-profit Spotlight focuses on Assistance League of Kansas City, a completely volunteer-driven effort working in concert with organizations across the city.

“We have no paid staff,” said Rita Pickering, the president of Assistance League of Kansas City. “We have about 350 members; no paid staff. We do all the work.”

The Assistance League began in Los Angeles 100 years ago and has grown into 120 chapters nationwide with volunteers dedicated to philanthropic service. For the last 35 years, the Kansas City chapter has continued that mission locally through a multitude of community programs.

And they are always looks for more volunteers.

“We would love to have you come and join us,” said Pickering. “We not only do a lot of things to help our community, but we have a good time.”

Find out more about their programs and how you can help in the videos and information below:

Who does the Assistance League of Kansas City serve?

For nearly 35 years, Assistance League of Kansas City has been transforming the lives of children and adults through community programs operated entirely by 356 committed volunteers. These nine philanthropic programs exist to meet specific unmet needs of underserved children, students, and adults in our local community:

  • Operation School Bell®
  • Assault Survivor Kits®
  • Operation Child In Need
  • I’m In Charge
  • Operation HUG
  • Senior Outreach Service
  • Scholarship
  • Operation Celebration
  • Outreach

Through these programs, our volunteers gave more than 68,000 hours last year to make a difference!

What is your mission statement: 

Mission Statement: Assistance League volunteers transforming the lives of children and adults through community programs.

Vision: Essential needs are met in our community and families flourish.

How is the current health crisis impacting your operation?

Due to COVID-19, THE ReSALE SHOP, our upscale thrift store which normally provides 80% of the revenue to fund our community programs, was closed for more than three months, and even today is open with limited days and hours. We could have folded up our operations and shut down our programs, but that’s not who we are. We quickly adapted and carefully allocated funds to target the greatest needs.  With so many losing jobs, it became apparent that food insecurity was a major concern for many in our community.  We held a food drive early last spring and continue to incorporate food delivery into several of our programs. 

In looking for ways to increase funding, we held our first virtual auction which generated substantial revenue that we immediately poured into two of our food programs.  We have been amazed and deeply appreciative of community support which has come in the form of grants, foundation gifts, individual donations and loyal shoppers at our thrift store.  This supplemental revenue has allowed us to keep each one of our programs running and meeting critical needs. 

What services are you providing?

  • Operation School Bell – Instead of counselors transporting students to our facility to shop for school clothing, shoes, socks and underwear were delivered to 60 local elementary schools last fall for underserved children.  A second delivery of 3,000 warm hoodies, hats, scarves, gloves, and a hygiene kit will be delivered this month.  Additionally, 700 middle and high school students will be provided with vouchers to shop for food and clothing essentials at local retail stores.
  • Operation Child in Need provides regular food deliveries to partnering shelters and also fills all kinds of special requests from social workers for children whose families are unable to provide for their essential needs.
  • Unfortunately, domestic abuse and violence has not taken a break during COVID, and through our partnership with MOCSA, we provide Assault Survivor Kits which contain clean clothing and essential items for men and women who are victims of sexual assault.
  • I’m In Charge provides a safety curriculum to elementary schools.  It was adapted this year to accommodate virtual/at-home learning
  • Senior Outreach Service – Addressed food insecurity for shut-in seniors this year by providing fresh produce during the summer and bags of essential groceries at the holiday season.  Nursing home residents receive senior pal cards and food treats for special events. 
  • Operation HUG – In addition to delivering teddy bears to hospitals, surgical centers, fire departments, etc., we started giving bears to elementary school counselors and to lonely residents of nursing homes. 
  • Scholarship Program helps further post-secondary education through scholarships based on academic achievement and demonstrated need.

How can the community help: volunteering, donating goods, event participation and how will monetary donations be used?

  • Monetary donations can be made one of two ways:
    • By check: mail to Assistance League of Kansas City, 6101 N Chestnut Ave., Gladstone, MO 64119
    • All donations stay in Kansas City area, benefiting adults and children in need through our philanthropic programs
  • We are very appreciative of donations of clean, gently-used items to our thrift store, THE ReSALE SHOP (business hours 10 AM – 4 PM on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays)
  • Shop at our upscale thrift store, THE ReSALE SHOP
  • Become a member volunteer of Assistance League of Kansas City
  • Support our fundraising activities, food drives, etc.
  • Follow Assistance League of Kansas City on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

What other information would you like to share with KC viewers?

This has been a year like no other, and we might not have survived had it not been for the support of corporations, community partners, and individual donors who gave more this year, or maybe donated to us for the first time. Although our thrift shop had to close for 3-1/2 months, and even now we are only open with limited hours, Assistance League did not and will not shut down. We continue to address unmet needs in the community. We invite viewers to get involved and join us. Make someone’s life better by giving a little of yourself! Assistance League of Kansas City is making a difference!

For more information visit:   www.alkc.org

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