BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — A small church in Blue Springs has been “Freezin’ for a Reason” for years.
Every second weekend in January, church members camp outside using nothing but surplus wood and plastic tarps for shelter. They raise money and supplies for more than a dozen agencies that benefit the homeless in Kansas City. This year, the cause is more important than ever.
Fourteen years of suffering the wind, snow, sleet and sub-zero temperatures , and those dedicated to the cause have never seen anything like the desperate need among the homeless that Covid-19 has inflicted.
Bryan Couch has built a make-shift weekend home in the front lawn of First Christian Church of Blue Springs since the beginning.
“Because of COVID, so many places the homeless would normally go to get warm have to limit the number of people going in, and some of those resources are going away too. I don’t know what they are going to do. I really don’t,” Couch said.
Things could get worse before they get better. Across the Metro, more evictions for those who can’t pay the rent are pending. Which means soon, there could be more people on the streets. The Salvations Army is one of about 20 agencies “Freezin’ for a Reason” helps.
“A lot of the food pantries or food feeding sites are no longer available. It’s just a very high level of need,” said Ramona Quinn of the Salvation Army.
But the enormous need is opening hearts as neighbors drive by the small church with donations. One man handed a $500 check out the window of his truck to the campers $500 will buy about 100 blankets.
“We had one lady bring in her stimulus check,” said Couch.
Inside the church, donated blankets, coats, gloves, socks and toiletries are starting to pile up.
“We are really appreciative to those who have come out this year and donated and those who have donated remotely,” said Matt Calhoun, another long-time participant.
Usually, about two dozen people spend the entire weekend on the front lawn of the church. This year, because of COVID-19, only the leadership team set up camp. To them, the generous donations of the community make a whole weekend spent around burn barrels, sleeping on pallets and under tarps worth every minute of the cold inconvenience.
“People want to help. That’s what’s amazing about Kansas City,” said Couch.
Ramona Quinn of the Salvation Army agrees.
“I love it. We’ve been partners with them for 12 years. We see all the good that they are able to do. They are able to help a lot of agencies. It takes all of us.”
In the 14 years since “Freezin’ for a Reason” began, leaders estimate they’ve been able to donate more than a million blankets to those in need. Donation bins will be in front of the church located at (701 NW 15th St. Blue Springs, MO.) for several weeks or you can make a financial donation to GOFUNDME.COM/BLANKETKANSASCITY.