KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This Fourth of July, Neighbor 2 Neighbor made sure the less fortunate in Kansas City had a nice meal, a cool place to eat and a prayer.
"A lot of people don't have family to go to, and this is they family right here," said Leon Nash, who served lunch at Mount Washington Missionary Baptist Church.
A hot plate, with a pinch of hope, is what the executive director of Neighbor 2 Neighbor Gregory Parr provided for many Monday inside the hall of the church.
"Our primary purpose is to help the homeless figure out why they are homeless, and help them get off the streets and mostly into drug treatment centers and to recovery houses," Parr said.
Parr says meals are served at the church five days a week, but to many, these meals are more than just a hot plate of food.
"Many times, it isn't just a meal," Parr said. "People come here because they have hope, they want to hear the possibility of people surrendering."
"Monday through Friday, I love to come here because I believe it saves a lot of people," Nash said. "Then they just don't feed us, they talk to us, they pray with us, they listen to us."
The folks that Neighbor 2 Neighbor serves include women like Chavon Hatten.
"I go through things," Hatten said. "I come in my hood, with my hood family, and I come try to give back in positive words and let people know you don't have to stay out here."
Hatten says the meals provided by Neighbor 2 Neighbor and volunteers have a deeper meaning to the people they serve.
"Some of us don't have nowhere to eat, nowhere to stay, we sleep outside," Hatten said. "I've been homeless before, I didn't have to be, but I chose to be. Some of us deal with mental illness, so it's good to have a place to eat, get cooled off and stuff and fill your belly."
The folks being served breakfast and dinner at the church, whether sitting down for a prayer or lining up for lunch, receive a scoop of compassion, hope and understanding.
"It's their calling to give us the love that we are missing from our loved ones," Hatten said. "They already get the love from their loved ones, so we come here, and they give us that love."
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