KANSAS CITY, Mo — A Liberty couple is making sure people without homes have a fun and safe place to watch the game. Laci and Ryan McClelland decided not to go to the Super Bowl in 2020 and instead use that money to start this tradition as a way of giving back.
”When you go to the Super Bowl, it’s a city thing, it’s a community thing. And the thought of some of the people in our city, some of the most vulnerable, being left behind, didn’t sit well with us,” said Laci McClelland.
For the last several years, the couple has partnered with John Kraus of Morning Glory Ministries. It is a community, faith-based ministry helping make Kansas City a safer, better and happier place for our homeless brothers and sisters.
“We’ve learned a lot and it’s really been a gift to us to be able to do this,” said Laci McClelland. “There’s a lot of love in the room for sure.”
The organizers have seen great success. The events have offered food, music, raffles and even free haircuts in the past.
Unfortunately, the usual location is under construction this year, so the couple turned to Hope Faith, a local homeless shelter in KC. Laci McClelland says not having a party was not an option.
“I think they’ll appreciate it, especially on a Sunday because it’s not normally open here on a Sunday. So it gives a lot of people some place to go,” said Carlos Rodriguez, who is staying there.
Rodriguez and others living at the shelter are excited for the special pizza party this weekend. While the event may look different this year, Laci McClelland said the mission is the same.
“Awareness of … there’s more needs than just the one night,” said Laci McClelland. “If it’s on your heart, to do blessing bags or to learn more or to donate or to volunteer, I think it’s a really, really cool mission to be a part of.”
A group of fourth graders at Warren Hills Elementary School got wind of the event and decided to do just that. They made 150 blessing bags on Thursday to donate to the party.
“I hope they feel that people care and that they aren’t alone in the world,” said fourth grade student Aiden Perry. “We feel it’s just being nice and generous.”
Teacher Sadie Heusi said it is a gift that gives both ways, as the students learn an important life lesson.
“We like to teach our students that it’s important to give back. And so any opportunity we can, we try to involve them with the community and have partnerships,” said Heusi. “I hope they know that there’s a whole community of people and children that really care about them and are wishing them well.”