KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A century-old community center in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast is reeling after someone broke in, stealing thousands of dollars in equipment.
There is a lot of rich history inside Whatsoever Community Center in Kansas City’s northeast neighborhood.
“This ring here since 1942, since World War II. So this is the original boxing ring we’ve had here,” said Eddy Guillen, Whatsoever Community Center youth director and head boxing coach.
Thousands of kids have been coming to the center for critical after-school programming, including an 80-year-old free boxing club that’s produced countless champions.
“It just gives them chance to defend themselves, ins and outs of boxing and it gives them confidence and my biggest thing is have fun while you’re down here,” Guillen said.
So when Coach Guillen got a call someone had broken in over the holiday weekend, he was crushed.
“They broke this door and when they came in they pretty much ransacked this little area right here where they gloves are,” Guillen said.
Several headgear sets, more than 30 pairs of boxing gloves, and tons of shoes were stolen. The back door is badly damaged and needs repair. It’s a blow totaling thousands of dollars.
“It’s very disheartening. More than anything I get more upset not at the material things but when the kids come in and have practice and are asking , ‘Hey coach, where are my gloves? Where’s this?’ Somebody came in and stole it, took our stuff. We have got to work with what we have. And lot of stuff we work on is with donations,” Guillen said.
Eddy is trying to make do with what’s left. The kids are thankful for this safe haven, which is more important than ever during the pandemic, when many schools are closed.
Whatsoever is now hoping the community’s generosity will help them fight through.
“You’re giving back to kids to have an opportunity to explore things and see things that might not ever get that chance in life, travel, camaraderie, friends, just new experiences,” Guillen said. If you’d like to help, Whatsoever has a GoFundMe page set up, in hopes of raising enough money to replace equipment that was stolen.
If you’d like to help, Whatsoever has a Go Fund Me page set up, in hopes of raising enough money to replace equipment that was stolen.
The non-profit’s annual winter silent auction is also coming up this weekend. You can learn more about the virtual event here.
Donations of new or gently used boxing gloves and headgear are also welcome.