KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The giving season is just beginning, but Shelter KC has been preparing for weeks.
"We’re kind of getting right down to that end," said Eric Burger, executive director of the organization. "We pretty much need to have things in the next couple of days."
The shelter has 150 volunteers and close to 4,000 meals that will be served in the next week. It takes quite a bit of food to accomplish such a goal, something Shelter KC is struggling with based on donations thus far this season.
"We certainly understand more now than ever when people give how much it’s a sacrificial gift," Burger said.
Burger believes fewer donations are tied to the effects of inflation and higher prices of foods. He also says the community has had to readjust to pre-pandemic volunteering.
"Coming and going to the store and now coming and bringing it (the donations) down — we kind of have to get readjusted to do those things," Burger said.
Volunteer Sidni Sprenkle has been coming to the shelter for the last three years to help out during Thanksgiving.
Sprenkle says it's the look on people's faces when the meals are delivered that keeps her coming back. Often she reminisces about one elderly woman she met who touched her heart.
"She had cleaned her entire apartment for her family to come over," Sprenkle said. "I cried when I was leaving because she was so grateful that we were able to deliver not only meals for her, but she was able to feed her whole family."
The same feeling rings true for Tamika Burns, who works inside the kitchen. Burns has been with the shelter for eight years and, in her words, "wouldn't trade it for the world."
"I thank god for the blessings that come through these doors," Burns said. "It makes me feel good to know that we serve them good food, and they feel comfortable and loving when they come in here."
Letitia Rogers says she's certainly felt that love in the past five months she's been at Shelter KC. This Thanksgiving Rogers says she's thankful for the community around her helping her to grow each day and set into a "victorious life."
"Being able to have a Thanksgiving, some people are not fortunate enough to have one, us being able to help and give them something to look forward to is a real blessing," she said.
During her time at the shelter, Rogers says she has been able to change her attitude and outlook on life, even through the most difficult days when she feels like she just wants to give up.
"I’m getting the tools and the classes they provide here, gives us a lot of encouragement to be able to overcome our addictions," Rogers said.
As she continues to recover, she hopes others who need help feel they can reach out to Shelter KC.
This week, the shelter will be serving 75 smoked turkeys, 400 pies and around 15-20 pans of macaroni and cheese and green beans. Not one person will be turned away.
"That’s what this is all about, just making them feel special," Burns said.
Call Shelter KC at 816-421-7643 for more information on their weeklong Thanksgiving meals and the Turkey Convoy.