KANSAS CITY, Mo — Scorching temperatures ahead of the summer solstice are prompting a Kansas City church to change its camp operations and are leading to an increase in demand at nonprofits.
Shelter KC is a nonprofit which offers a variety of services to people living on Kansas City's streets. There has been a spike in demand over the past 10 days. The organization is now placing mats on the floor to give more people the chance to cool off, in addition to the 100 beds being offered across their two KC locations.
"I'm getting older and the heat's bad. A lot of people I've known, in the last couple of weeks, have had heat strokes," Shelter KC guest Kenneth Sartors said.
Sartors is involved in one of the shelter's rehabilitation programs, and has a place to stay for right now. He recalled his time on the streets, saying many businesses wouldn't let him come inside to cool off.
"They don't want us to come in their businesses getting water or nothing," he said. "They don't want us to use their restaurants and the heat can be tremendous, it can take his toll on you."
Shelter KC says when a heat advisory is in place, they will open their doors early and have cooling stations available. In the meantime, they are offering "beat the heat kits" to people without homes. The kits are filled with water bottles, sunscreen, deodorant and other essential items. People can contribute to these kits by donating similar items at the shelter, located at 1520 Cherry St. in Kansas City, Missouri.
The heat is also taking a toll on other organizations, including Fellowship KC's vacation bible camp. The camp runs for this week only from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., but camp staff says humidity and high temperatures are a point of concern.
"We have to shift and especially this week, we've brought a tent in and it not only helps us with the heat but the chance of thunderstorms that will come," Wesley Vance with Fellowship KC explained. "We have to be flexible because the weather is making everything change, we've been planning since January of this year."
Some additional changes the camp is making includes adding additional water breaks and keeping campers inside AC controlled spaces.
"You have summer schools, you have vacations, you have a whole bunch of travel that happens throughout the summer before you get into the brunt of July, so the third week of June, while it's hot this week, it gets hotter," Vance said.