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#WeSeeYouKSHB: Lead to Read KC helps restaurants, families in need

Posted at 5:53 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 18:19:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lead to Read KC is known for its good work in the classroom. Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lead to Read is also reaching out to help Kansas City-area restaurants struggling to keep their workers on and stay in business.

As part of the new "Feed the Need to Read" initiative, families struggling to find a meal because of layoffs or other hardships caused by the coronavirus will also be able to get a meal.

"There are just so many people in need and hurting in the community, and the need for feeding people and supporting the restaurants is so immediate. We want to be able to help with that right now," said Pauly Hart, executive director of Lead to Read KC.

Here's how it works: People can log on to, choose a restaurant and purchase a gift card. By doing so, you're generating income for restaurants, and a small part of the gift card price is a donation to Lead to Read KC.

"Then we will email you your gift cards. A few of the gift cards will come in the mail, but most of them are electronic so you can use them right away for pick-up and delivery," Hart said.

Jimmy John's, a longtime Lead to Read KC sponsor, is now benefiting from the Lead to Read KC initiative. Director of Marketing Leanna Meredith said it felt good that a nonprofit helped by Jimmy John's is now returning the favor.

"It's a full-circle partnership," Meredith said. "... They jumped right in and said, 'hey, we've got this great idea,' and it's mutually beneficial for both."

On the Lead to Read KC website, you can also choose to give a Jimmy John's meal to a family struggling financially because of the coronavirus. Freedom Fire Urban Ministries will then deliver the meals.

The campaign is an effort to make sure Lead to Read KC is ready when schools resume this fall in Kansas City and many of the elementary-age students who were already below grade level will need help.

"We know that now that they've been away from the classroom and they haven't had their reading mentors," Hart said. "They're going to need us now more than ever in the fall."