Free meat giveaway seeks to feed hungry, reduce crime in Kansas City’s urban core

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of neighborhood leaders lined up Thursday in the urban core to receive a free box of meat.

Activists at the Justice and Dignity Center believe making sure their neighbors have food to eat will help curb violent crime.

The Justice and Dignity Center has invited neighborhood leaders and organizers of grassroots groups to pick up 50 pounds of meat each to give away to folks on the blocks where they operate.

The center is an offshoot of the Rosser-Simpson Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. It's spent about $10,000 on a trailer load of frozen meat to give away in urban core neighborhoods.

They're also hoping to bring people together to discuss common issues of crime, violence and escaping a cycle of poverty.

"If you can get some of the primary human dignities taken care of, it makes it easier for you to receive," center leader Genesis Joyner said. "It makes it easier for you to think about things in your community so you can address those issues, because you know someone cares."

The church also opened its doors as a warming shelter Thursday, so after waiting out in the cold, folks can step inside and enjoy a free barbecue lunch that's being prepared for them.

This is another way to bring people together and introduce neighbors who may not have known each other.

Getting people to come out for free food also helps activists connect people to social services they need to overcome challenges, instead of waiting for problems to boil over into crimes.

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