KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Volunteers will help Shelter KC deliver about 25% more meals around Kansas City, Missouri, this Thanksgiving than last year.
Eric Burger, Shelter KC’s executive director, believes demand increased because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said people who have never asked for help in the past are coming forward this year. This year, volunteers will deliver more than 530 meals.
The Christian-based homeless shelter and rescue mission hosts “Operation Turkey Convoy” every year to deliver hot, traditional Thanksgiving meals to homebound, elderly and other shut-ins.
“People are isolated. So it’s about the meal, but also letting them know you have value and you have not been forgotten and we can share that God loves you,” Burger said.
Because of the pandemic, Burger’s team of volunteers are doing things differently. Deliveries will be contactless. There are fewer food prep volunteers; each one had to check their temperatures. Delivery drivers were not allowed inside the building.
Several volunteers make the deliveries part of their holiday tradition. Chris Bay makes a point to bring his children with him.
“They enjoy it,” he said. “Actually this year they asked, ‘Hey, are we signed up yet?’ And I thought, ‘Oh, you know what, I need to call.’ So I called and we had already been on the email list, but it was nice of them to remind me, so it was good.”
Shelly Migliazzo and her family also make volunteering a tradition. She said it’s easy to tell how grateful the meal recipients are.
“They’re all very thankful and very appreciative of their meals and they’re all very happy we took the time to do it for them,” Migliazzo said.
Burger said the event thrives with the enthusiasm of volunteers.
“As you receive, you have something to be thankful for, but as you give, you are thankful you have the ability to do that,” he said. “I think that’s what you see from volunteers is they get probably more pleasure out of serving than even people get out of receiving.”