Kirkwood cares for Kirk Care

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Kirkwood cares for Kirk Care

Lydia Cohen, web staff

She was at a loss. As a single mom recently diagnosed with cancer, she was struggling to balance funds between daily needs and treatments. Her utility bills were late, and she could not afford to put food on the table for her and her children. With few options left, she turned to Kirk Care. There she received the aid that she needed.

The Kirkwood Ministerial Alliance, comprised of representatives from 29 churches, gathered 36 years ago with a similar goal in mind: they wanted to form a non-profit organization local to places included in KSD to help with the community’s needs. With this established, they formed Kirk Care. Directed and staffed by members of churches and other volunteers throughout Kirkwood, Kirk Care provides accommodations to around 160 families in need each month. They participate in food deliveries from their pantry, assist with utility bill payments as well as support KSD with school supplies.

“A family or individual can call and say, ‘I need food for the month of November,’ and we give them food, no questions asked,” Jennifer McCoy, Kirk Care’s newsletter director, said. “If your family called this month, someone would deliver the food to your house, and in addition, you would get a gift card to Schnucks.”

Volunteers collect food from the Kirk Care pantry and deliver the bags to the door of whoever made the request. Kirk Care’s work has helped families continue to be able to live in Kirkwood, as the demands for their aid increases by about 25 percent annually.

We are the last lifeline for some of these families.”

— Larry Watson

“There really is a need [for help in Kirkwood],” Pastor Ed Plants of Geyer Road Baptist Church and a Kirkwood Ministerial Board member said. “People sometimes think of Kirkwood as being an affluent community, and as a whole, it is. But there are still plenty of people slipping through the cracks [who] need assistance from time to time.”

The food delivery and utility help continues year round, however certain drives and events occur seasonally. These seasonal events stick with the original work of Kirk Care while accommodating the needs of the community during a specific time span, such as Christmas boxes in December and summertime lunch programs.

“There is always a food drive before Thanksgiving and [winter holidays] to help people through the [season],” Plants said. “Because it is such an important time, we do not want people to be hungry or in need.”

Kirk Care’s outreach does more than feed people within the Kirkwood community. They also help families live a life with minimal financial insecurity because of the help they are given.

“It is rewarding when you hear comments that are coming back from the individuals we serve,” Larry Watson, Kirk Care president, said. “They wanted to thank us because we are the last lifeline for some of these families.”

The work of Kirk Care volunteers reciprocates in self-fulfillment. According to Watson, reaching out and helping others within the Kirkwood community has benefits for all.

“Everybody should have the opportunity to help their [community members] that are in need,” Watson said. “I think it is our social and moral obligation to do so.”

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