Facebook group connects homeless with resources

Posted at 4:58 AM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 08:29:30-04

A warm Sunday afternoon is perfect for a day at the park, but for Kansas City's homeless population it's a time to get help.

"We look forward to the weekend because we know people come and bring us something to drink, something to eat and clothing," said Jackie Richardson, who has been homeless for two years.

Jackie became homeless after getting out of prison on drug related charges.

"We're not trying to rob, steal or nothing," he said. "We're just trying to survive. Day to day we wonder where can we find work? Where can we find shelter? To have work you have to have an address. To go into work you have to have somewhere to sleep and get up in the morning."

On this particular Sunday, Jackie was at Ilus Davis Park just as a group of people came with bags, boxes and coolers filled with needed items.

"This is a community thing, it's just about all of us doing this together," said Nellie McCool, who started the Facebook page "Free Hot Soup - Kansas City."

Nellie said she brought the idea back from Seattle where she was living.

"Every time I went I was like, man Kansas City needs this," said McCool. "It was like winning that World Series and seeing everyone come together down in the heart of the city. I was like, okay, it's time to start the group."

The group started with just a few close friends and family members and now has 1200 members.

"It's contagious," said Nellie. "It's pretty much whatever you want to do, whatever you are good at, you show up and you do that."

Some members donate the food, others cook and serve the food. There are members that give hair cuts when needed, some that fix bikes, and others that donate clothing and toiletries. Some members have gotten so connected with the homeless they serve that they know each by name and will write down their exact needs like a certain size of shoes, a tent or a bike.

"Usually if we know that it's raining we'll all try to take a special trip to try and come out here with tarps and socks and shoes because some people will just want dry shoes and socks on their feet," said Nellie. "It's a whole different situation during the winter too because then we're seeing people battling frostbite and hypothermia."

Nellie said some of the most needed items are socks, toilet paper and baby wipes.

"No one likes feeling like they stink," said Nellie.

Since "Free Hot Soup - Kansas City" is not a 501C, they don't except monetary donations and they can't give receipts for items that are donated.

If you'd like to join the group and see how you can be a part of the movement, like their Facebook page